We took a bus from Finisterre back to Santiago de Compostela. What had taken us four days to walk was covered in less than three hours. The landscape looked different from the confines of a bus and as we rode along we thought about how the Camino had affected us.
When we planned the trip, we doubted that we could make it from Sarria to Finisterre, we wondered if the pain in our hearts would amplify the inevitable pain in our legs, leaving us stranded in the middle of Spain. We were angry, secretly demanding that God explain himself via burning bush or a hand written apology, however we’d settle for a glimpse of Gus, walking along with us, maybe just slightly ahead. It was crazy of course but this particular “Camino” was a religious pilgrimage so why not? There were no notes of course and the ground was too wet for bushes to burn, even miraculous ones, and all we were ever saw were cows but as we walked, we marveled at how much the journey mirrored life.
There were ups and downs and whole areas of mud and sludge that threatened to bog us down. Forward progress went smoothly when “all water was under the bridge”, keeping us stagnant when it was not. We’d proceeded carefully trying to avoid all the “crap”, while others simply stepped in it, but more often than not the “crap” found us anyway.
We thought about how easily we had faith in odd things, like Ewan of MacAdventures (not MacTours) to whom we entrusted our money and personal belongings, not once worrying that our hotels would not be booked or our things would not be safely kept ahead of us; and that the Camino markers were official, always taking us where we needed to go even when they were spray painted on the road; along the side of a house, or a tree. Our struggle with faith therefore was not that we did not have it to throw around but that we had to keep it, even now, when things had gone horribly wrong.
The road to the end of the world was by far the most difficult part of our journey, but just when we wrestled with the idea that leaving Gus rocks, crosses and pictures was pointless and only adding to our misery, we’d met Andrew and Chris who lifted our spirits and were surprised to discover it was us who’d left the amazing rock they’d seen on their way out of Santiago after their own happenstance meeting.
We do not return ready to empty Gus’ room (if ever) or with any more clarity than when we left, but we proved to ourselves that we are stronger than we imagined having walked an average of 20km per day for ten days much like we’ve gotten up everyday since 6-24-12. The Camino has given us some peace knowing that while we will always love Gus and will miss him more with every passing day, we can walk in this new world. Buen Camino.