I must have become a crazy person. That is the only apparent explanation for walking on from Santiago, right? I could be relaxing, sleeping in a fancy hotel with my own room, sleeping in each day with a siesta each afternoon.
Instead, I chose to walk on.
There is a somewhat popular pilgrim tradition of walking from Santiago to Finisterre, another 90 kilometres. This brings the total number of kilometres from St Jean to 900 (rounding up, but come on – I have walked so many extra kilometres around towns that I’ve stayed in. I know I’ve surpassed that 900 kilometre mark this summer!)
It was an interesting decision to make, walking on. Part of my logical brain was really pushing for that rest and ease, wondering why I would give that up just to walk more.
On the other hand, what’s 90 more kilometres once you’ve walked 800? It’s really not much! What’s three more days once you’ve walked 31? I could do anything for three days, I think. Suffer through anything, I think at less positive times!
It’s also a good motivation to actually make it ALL the way across a country on foot, not just MOST of the way.
Finally, I am learning to do hard things. As you know, this has been an important lesson for me this summer, and as I got closer to Santiago, a sense that I needed to keep going was growing within my spirit.
There’s something different about walking on when almost no one knows I’m doing it. No one is expecting it. No one is checking my blog for how many kilometres I’ve walked today. It would be easier to give up – easier to convince myself this part doesn’t matter, this is not necessary.
But I press on. It is intrinsically rewarding, this walk. Parts of it are rough and hard. There are long uphill sections to challenge.
I feel strong.
Physically, my body is so ready for this. Even after a day of rest (maybe particularly because of a day of rest which my body needed), I fall back into the rhythm of walking. It doesn’t take long until I’m not even thinking about how this is “extra”.
Mentally, I feel strong. It is empowering to know that I can choose to do a hard thing, and find joy in it.
It’s really not about the destination, but about the journey. So upon reaching my destination, I kept journeying on.
One of the key things for me when I actually return home (in less than a week as I write this, but it will be closer when I actually post and you read this!), will be to learn how to continue the journey in my “regular” life.
Again, I ask myself: now that I know I avoid hard things, what are the hard things God is asking me to tackle?
But having experienced my own growth, I don’t anticipate these with trepidation. Because I know that I can climb mountains, even if it takes baby steps. Slowly but surely, I will make it.