Ever since I saw the movie The Way, I’ve been fascinated by the pilgrimage on The Way of Saint James, El Camino de Santiago. The ancient trek from many points in Europe leads to Compostela near the western coast of Spain. Pilgrims have traveled this road for hundreds of years and for hundreds of reasons.
When I say I’m fascinated by the pilgrimage, I mean to say that I’m interested in reading and learning about it. My heart says to be fascinated means that one day, I may walk The Way as a pilgrim. My spirit says to be fascinated means that one day, I should walk The Way as a pilgrim. But my mind says to be fascinated with The Way means play it safe, put aside the silly notion, and forget ever walking The Way as a pilgrim.
“Experience and enjoy the Camino vicariously through the exploits of others younger, freer, richer, and bolder,” my brain shouts.
Then I think today, though I may never embark join The Way of Saint James, I am walking The Way of Saint Charlie every day!
Pilgrims on the Camino say they start on The Way for a hundred different reasons or for no reason at all, but they end up at Compostela different than when they began. The Way changes them. The Way prods them along. The Way clarifies and mystifies, they say. And they say The Way, while ending up in the same destination, is very different for each of them. To walk The Way of Saint James is a journey inside as well as along an ancient path.
The Way of Saint Charlie is like that, too. I’m heading in the general direction of an ultimate destination, and I’m making the trek that countless others have made before me. I’m walking that well-worn path along with countless others, and we’re heading in the same direction.
But I have to walk The Way of Saint Charlie. I have to find my reason, my purpose, my motivation for walking. I have to stay focused on my horizon, my, markers, my shell. I have to carry my gear, drop my burden at the Cross of Iron, and make my way my own.