Alice and I met over a year ago in the most perfect of ways, through serendipity. This unexpected connection between a retired real estate broker, godmother of 7, sweet southern bell and a 30-something van-lifer, godmother of 1, unsweetened midwestern wild flower has blossomed into a friendship full of love, support, and adventure. Alice and I send each other photos texts from mountain tops or of a fun new creation of art. We exchange long emails discussing our lives, fears, and philosophies. Mail hand written letters of thanks, and even say "hey" with a quick phone call.
A few weeks ago I received one of those great life emails from Alice. Taken by her perseverance for her newest journey, I couldn't shake her words and wanted to share the heartfelt email with you.
Letter from Alice:
Camino de Santiago - The Way of St. James
In about a month I will be leaving on a two-month pilgrimage, walking over 800 Kilometers from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain and the Cathedral which is said to house the bones of St. James. Pilgrims have been traveling this same path since the 11th century. Most notable Francis of Assisi.
This is a pilgrimage I have wanted to do for over 30 years but for many reasons pushed it to the crevices of my mind. Now in my mid 70's I decided it was now or never.
I have been preparing physically, mentally and spiritually for over a year, however, due to a freak accident, I tore my meniscus in my left knee. Surgery was 6 weeks ago and I am still in the healing process.
My knee will not be fully healed by the time I will fly to France to begin my walk but with the help of my hiking poles and and cortisone shot from my Doctor plus arrangement with a company called Camino Way in Ireland that specializes in walks on the Camino I am confident I will be able to do this walk. The Camino Way company has set me up in a single private hotel room for each night with a distance of most days 10 to 12 miles. Still, a long way but have assured me I can arrange for a taxi to my next destination if needed. They are also going to transport my heaver backpack to my next hotel daily and I will carry a day pack with two liters of water. There will also be towns in between distances for me to stop, rest and eat.
I will be going solo but meeting other pilgrims along the path, making new friends and listening to " the still small voice of my heart". One thing for sure I will not come back the same person I was when I left. This for me is a pilgrimage of the Soul.
Your prayers are deeply appreciated and much needed as I make my way on the Camino.
I will not be posting to Facebook or emailing while on this journey and only checking in with my daughter as I do not want to be distracted from my purpose of "going within".
When I return I will share this experience and anything meaningful.
You will in my heart along "The Way".
P.S. A poem by William Ward pretty much sums up my feelings of why I am walking the Camino.
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool
To weep is a risk of being called sentimental
To reach out to another is a risk of involvement
To expose feelings is a risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is a risk of not being loved in return
To live is a risk of dying
To try is to risk failure
But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing
People who risk nothing may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow or really live
Chained by their servitude they are slaves who have forfeited all freedom
Only a person who risk is truly free
Thank you, Alice, for letting me share you with others. Here is Alice's Facebook Page if you'd like to connect with her or give her your well wishes on this grand adventure! To read more about Alice, Carol, and Sister Mary Pat click this link Band of Sisters.
Heart Shaped World
A few of the many hearts that stuck out this week. Have you seen any???