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The Camino Adventure: Day Twelve

Friday October 4th 

Lourdes Have Mercy

Marching up to a 3am wake up call. The powerful moments have barely finished behind me as we move to the next event. It's skeptical or perhaps I'm just lingering to think this next portion of my journey could hold a candle to what I've experienced. Ushered onto a tiny air plane from Santiago to Madrid my heart is longing for The Camino and the friendships I forged. I miss Moon, Gaby & Beautiful Song; my China Girls. I miss the snap of cold air in the morning as I get ready to tackle a ten to fifteen mile journey. I miss my Irish friends I made and I miss the anticipation of the arrival into Santiago. 

Landing in Madrid there's a clear sense of deja vu. We've been here before. Tired and frayed at this airport is starting to feel the norm yet now we're on a special extended experience as we travel to Lourdes, France then Paris, France. I'm learning about the history of Lourdes and I have to be candid, perhaps it's because I'm tired but I'm feeling deeply unspiritual about it. The story involves a young girl that is visited by Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, who is instructed to dig in the ground. Afterwards the water that sprung forth becomes supernatural and is now a river rushing through the valley. In my minds eye it's a parallel to the birth of Athens. I'm apprehensive to believe in the visitation from Mary. It's just bizarre from my perspective.

The Athens story is about the god of the sea Poseidon and the goddess Athena and how they're both bucking for the affections of the people. Poseidon strikes his triton into the ground and a spring comes forth. However Athena throws a tree branch into the spring and causes it to be fresh water instead of salt water so the people dedicate the temple to Athena hence the name Athens. Now in the story of Lourdes there is a supernatural visitation to a simple peasant girl so the stories do vary greatly. There's also something that feels magical about this place. I'm not sure why? Tomorrow we visit all of the major sites and even have a chance to draw into the source of the water. Many people boast of profound supernatural healings. I don't want to miss out now. I've opened my heart and God has helped and healed me so much during this trip. I need to stay present and in the moment.

At dinner I meet a lady from Los Angeles named Lourda. She was actually named after this very place "Lourdes". Her father passed away when she was eight years old so she struggled with her faith because of it. However on her fifteenth birthday she was cursing God and asking to see a sign at that very moment she sees a halo of light around the priest's head and she begins to faint. She says she felt touched by God and that is why she's here. During this holy celebration. While much of the day I was holding back tears from my experiences in Santiago, and missing my new friends I could see the same sincere spark in her eyes. She was here for an experience. I would never want to take that away. If anything I was here to experience something profound here as well. 

As I write this I can hear the peaceful angelic singing of thousands of people lining the streets. In candle light I realize apparently this place can literally hold many candles to a previous experience. I pray I'm further healed and that my future plans will have a stronger focus.