Friday, November 16, 2012

A Lesson from the End of the World

'What time is it in Spain?' I ask myself. On the surface jet-lag explains why I'm awake in the wee hours of this West Coast morning--but that's not it.

I stopped following the yellow way markers of the Camino several days ago, the last in Finisterre, long ago thought to be the end of the known world. I arrived in Santiago de Compostela one month after leaving St. Jean Pied de Port, France. Each day was filled with the physical introduction to one of four very different terrains of Northern Spain, coupled with the equally different regional weather as well as the languages and personalities of pilgrims from almost half of the 195 countries on our planet, all mixed in a colorful bowl of cuisine, dialects, mores and customs of the Spanish people responding to the day-to-day crisis of their ancient country with an uncertain future.

I'm reminded of standing on the huge rocks at the edge of the water in Muxia. The sun shines brightly while the cold wind blows intently. I watch the waves crash into the shore in unpredictable ways. I focused my camera lens on the last place the surf crashed forcing solid white clouds of spraying water high in the sky as if they were trying to blend with the sky. I sat down on a three-story rock that the ocean placed there thousands of years ago, wondering if nature knew I would be there at that moment and placed my sturdy platform there for me. Arrogant, my ego said loudly, but I caught myself before I made myself wrong, smiled and allowed my imagination to flow.

I became aware and patient and accepted the movement of ocean, remembering that many elements are at play deep below the surface of my view, all of which are causing the direction, height and action of the waves. I knew to resist would be in vain. I forgot about the picture I hoped to capture and began to observe the ocean as if it were someone I'd knew or had come in contact with on this adventure, who behaved in equally unpredictable ways. I thought about how often in life I have resisted the actions and behavior of others. I took that moment to ponder the unseen currents that are at play in each of us. The wind slowed as I bowed my head to pray.

God grant me the compassion to consider the current that others have flowing under the surface, completely out of my view. Give me patience to consider the wounds of others that affects their behavior. Grant me also the ability to see and know that all people have the flowing current of your grace, and allow me to use the grace within me to resist mindless reactions should another person crash into me. Amen