Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day Thirty One: Santa Irena to Monte de Gozo

I can't even believe that I have been walking for an entire month. Four hundred ninety seven miles down, three miles to go. Why stop with only three miles to go? I'll get to that. 

This morning we woke a little earlier that desired due to some particularly noisy pilgrims in our sleep room, but that's okay; it was probably good for us. We packed up and headed out in the path. At the first town we came to, we stopped for breakfast -- no surprise that it was cafe con leche and tostadas (why break tradition now?). Today was a short day: less than twenty kilometers! So instead of stopping for lunch, we marched straight through to our final destination: Monte de Gozo. I thought today would be easy thanks to the short distance, but the Camino wouldn't be the Camino if the path wasn't filled with climbs; so climb we did! We got to walk through my favorite landscape, the quiet, green forests, a good portion of the way. We arrived at our Albergue (one owned and run by a Polish priest) before one o'clock -- a new record! We checked in, rested, grabbed some lunch, and then rested some more! haha 

Today my head was filled with so many thoughts: how close we are to the end, how excited I am to get to Santiago, how sad I will be to say good bye to Vera and Jarek and Gosia, how thankful I am for this incredible journey, and how proud I am of my internal transformation. I kept thinking today of Nelson Mandella's inauguration speech, and his words really spoke to me: 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 

 I think I have learned a lot about myself on this journey: in the silence, through my interactions with other pilgrims, during prayer, and with each step I took. I know that the person that started the way in St. Jean is not the person who will walk into Santiago tomorrow -- though most of her is still there. And now (other than leaving my friends) I am no longer sad to see this journey end but am happy for the experiences I have gathered and excited to return home to new adventures and to "let my light shine, so as to give others permission to do the same". 

After an afternoon of rest, we walked up to a tiny church and went to mass -- that was said in Polish (it is a goo thing that mass basically the same no matter te language, because I only know one Polish word / phrase and it is not used at mass.) Then we went for dinner. Unfortunately the restaurant we were at didn't offer a pilgrim menu, so instead we had burgers, beer, and kinder eggs. And now we are back at the Albergue, all tucked into bed, ready to rise early tomorrow and take our final steps to Santiago. 

Here are a few pictures from today: 

I'm going to miss this!!! 

This way to Santiago!! 

I think part of what makes the Camino so peaceful is the lack if choice -- oh sure you can pick your meals and your friends and your Albergue, but the path: it is chosen. You follow the arrows, follow the trail. You spend five hundred miles following a path so that when you step off you are prepared to make a path for yourself. 

Oh yeah -- we're getting close alright! 

How do we spend our last night as pilgrims? Discussing our journey? Sharing deep philosophical thoughts? Nope: we played with the toys inside our kinder eggs. 

And my bed for the night. 

Well, cyber pilgrims: tomorrow is the day we have all been inching closer to -- I can't wait to take it all in! Pray for us and all the pilgrims who enter Santiago tomorrow (an pray for sun!!!). 

Buen Camino. 



  1. I love your Nelson Mandella quote - and like the song goes, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!" I believe this journey has made you wise beyond your years. God has great plans for you Jena, to "make manifest" His glory! God Speed and enjoy every second of those last three miles!

  2. Dear Jena,
    I am praying that tomorrow's experience is everything you have imagined it to be plus much, much more! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us who have been following your blog. Your story has touched each of us in ways that you will never fully realize. Can't wait to have you back home! Well...at least until you leave for your next adventure! Love, Mom