The first stage is over. The two words that best describe this time would be “hard” and “adjustment”.
Adjusting to a different time zone
To being just three of us
To different money
To different language
To different food (which we love!)
Adjusting our plans
And HARD….(I asked the boys what they had found hard and here is what they said):
Rain and cold
Only having three of us here
Longer distances than last time
It is fascinating that hard does not mean bad.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
And it’s true – right before my eyes the boys are maturing. Through seeking to consider hardship as joy they – indeed we all – are finding blessing.
I suspect the wonderful meal we enjoyed in the company of other pilgrims last night was made all the better because of the hard day. I suspect finding a bed so late the first night was all the sweeter for having wandered lost for a few hours. I suspect being sodden has made us more grateful for Albergues with heat than we otherwise might have been. I realised I was taking for granted the blessing of having a phone charger – until it broke, and then the effort to get a new one helped us to really appreciate it….furthermore, we ended up in a much nicer place than we had planned. We are also grateful for every piece of equipment we have brought – with the exception of sunhats and medical supplies, we have used everything we packed – including thermals, gloves, scarves and sleeping bags, which we had contemplated leaving behind.
Most of all, we are really grateful for the Common Prayer book we read from each morning before departing – it amazes us how a book written by someone who doesn’t know our situation could be so incredibly relevant. Take one of today’s prayers, for instance:
We will proclaim your bounty and your blessing, O Lord. We will sing to one another the song you have put in our hearts. Our feet will bring good news to the ends of the earth. Help us, Lord, to live out our promises. Amen.
Just after reading that we toddled off to a Basque church service and God whammed the songs they were singing right into our hearts. Our hearts felt full to overflowing as the organ music filled the space and soared to heaven, with the songs and prayers of the congregation and yellow-robed priest. Gloria in excelsis deo and a gazillion alleluias – and we could join right in, here at the end of the world where we are trying with God’s help to live out a promise walking on these (slightly swollen today) feet of ours.
No change in destination or mileage.
Dinner: artisan baguette, creamy cheese and Spanish chorizo – same as lunch, impossible to tire of!