One constant each day is the time I have to reflect, to ponder, and to discover. I cherish this time, solitude, the conversations, and quiet. Unfortunately at the end of most days I'm too tired to turn my random musings into more organized reflection.
I did have an interesting encounter that I have pondered many times on Camino. On Friday my dad and I climbed to the top of O Cebreiro and continued down to stay in a small (and by small I mean two albergues and two bars and one house....nothing else in sight) town Alto Poio. As we were heading down from the summit O Cebreiro we were feeling awesome! The climb up was more beautiful and achievable than we thought. It was day 3 of walking and we had completed what we'd heard was the hardest part. Things were still new and we are constantly in awe of the beauty. We were discovering a routine of walking and following arrows. Onward, move the journey forward, we can do this.
The Camino is so wonderfully filled with signs to keep the pilgrim moving forward. The path is full of seashells and arrows guiding you, beckoning you forward in your journey. As is often the cAse when I hike, I get lost in my thoughts and day dreams and the beauty of the natural world that I miss or worry that I've missed an important trail marker. So as we headed down we saw a path and we saw an arrow pointing down and without second glance we followed our arrow. We were feeling great, conversation was flowing and we were on the path.
A little way into the walk, I began to worry that we hadnt seen a comforting arrow in awhile and that we were the only people walking on a busy highway..... And so went our walk. It would be quiet for awhile and then one of us would question if we were on the path. The other person would then reassure that we had followed the arrow.
This continued on for a disconcerting amount of time and I knew we had missed the trail. There weren't signs, we were on a highway on the side of a mountain with no where to go or to ask for help. We had two options: continue onwards and hope to reconnect or to go back up the mountain and try again (yeah right!).
So we continued onward. It was then that I began to notice the many tiny butterflies along our route. Now there are many, many butterflies along the Camino (happy dance) but there appeared to be more here. As many of you know, I am often attracted to butterflies as signs and hope. So I immediately recognized them as a comforting sign that God was indeed with us and pushing us onward. Eventually we arrived at a statue and saw the path we were supposed to be on. We realized at we somehow ended up on the bikers path and were able to rejoin the walkers path that led through more beautiful mountains.
As we continued on the "right" path, I pondered more what had just happened. My dad and I talked about it as well. "But how did we miss the arrow?" "We were paying attention." "Where was the arrow?" These thoughts occupied our conversations and thoughts. the trails are so well marked and we were paying attention, so how did we miss it? But that's just it. Sometimes the "right" path can be right there and yet invisible. How easy it can be to miss a sign, a call, a voice, a direction. And we're all going to miss many in our life! So then I thought more about those butterflies. Because even though I didn't take the intended route, God was still there guiding me, leading me, and pushing me onward.
And in the end we got to our destination. So did it matter how? I don't think it matters how. Push onward, be in the present, turn to God. "Right" path or not I'll try to look for the small ways He's guiding me forward and leading me closer to Him. And of course, I'll try to pay attention.