We board the bus out of Santiago, appropriately, in the rain. It is another misty magical morning as we wind out of town toward Oporto. I am fortunate to get the center seat at the back of the bus, so I have the whole aisle to stretch my legs. However, it is bouncy, so please forgive any typos I may miss.
So….some reflections. First, continued thanks to God, source of all for the privilege of this journey together, for the difficulties which have made us stronger, for the tensions which have made us a little more patient, for the wonderful people we have met, and for the deepened sense of Being which enfolds and sustains us. Now, too, thanks for the continued journey and experience of Portugal in Oporto and for the opportunity to have David with us when we get to Lisboa.
A belated thanks to Joey at Cabelas sporting goods. I was looking for a small bag for carry on, to hold my iPad and one or too other bits. The ones which would have served were very expensive so she gave me one she had. It worked out that I was able to rig it up around my back pack to carry in the front making access to things like water and snacks easier as we walked. It was also large enough to carry food on the way. I saw a couple of other people with commercial types packs designed the same way. It works well to balance the load front and back.
Thanks too for the comments and encouragement from so many of you. I have touched by the number of people following our days. There wasn’t a lot of time or energy to respond to comments, so some now.
I was interested in the response to my little throw away comment about guilt, but it did set me thinking. Jim’s comment that guilt is a conditioned response which we have to divest before spiritual maturity was especially interesting to me. Of course there is the guilt which is externally conditioned and can be compulsive and destructive, but I think healthy guilt is simple a reminder that we are not being as we ourselves want to be. Guilt tells us that we are not living according to our own best values. So then we need to be attentive to our values to make sure they are life giving. Then when a reminder comes, we do not waste time feeling bad, but get on with doing what we can about living as we truly want to live.
The other trouble with guilt is that it often gets confused with shame. Guilt is about what we do and so, more external. Shame is about who we are, our being. That has even more power to destroy us and our relationship to others, especially Being itself. If I cannot value/love myself, I become unable to believe that I am loved or loveable. It seems to me that was the central message of Jesus. We are beloved and of infinite value. If we can enter that awareness, we truly encounter our true Being which manifests love within and through us. Trying to do that without the encounter with love usually ends up making us puritanical, rigid and legalistic.
I have also been interested in how easily we get distracted from the Love which enfolds us. Things like physical discomfort, irritations with people, worry about time and accommodation, but especially food. Maybe it was because we were putting out so much physical energy, but we were constantly checking to see if there were sources of food on the way and making sure we had food with us in case there were none. Water likewise. We started out carrying two water bottles with us. Consider the weight! We did eventually realize that the Portuguese route is well supplied with fountains, taps and artesian wells so we stopped filling both, but I still couldn’t bring myself to dump my second container till we were in Santiago. Even now, on a bus in a modern country, with regular pit stops where there are restaurants and snack shops, we carry sandwiches, fruit and trail mix. The trail mix has been with me since Winnipeg. In fairness, we had a place with a small kitchen so we were cooking for ourselves and the sandwiches are the left overs we hadn’t used up. But we still bought some extra fruit and cheese. Avoiding waste is part of my value system, so I do not feel guilty about it, just aware that it easily distracts us from the abundance with which Being has blessed us. Again I pause to think of those whose lives are marked by unrelenting hunger and what a scandal that is, In a world fully able to feed everyone.
We are now about half way to Oporto, so I will post this for your early morning entertainment. Blessings and joy in your new day.