Today I completed Day 19 of my trek across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. 328 miles down, 172 miles to go.
Now, more of my journey is behind me than before me. Sounds kind of like my life.
Thomas Merton once wrote, “The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey.”
If that’s true, I’m doing a lot of acting out. Some days the walk goes well. I sing. I pray. I meditate on Scripture. I reflect on the miles behind me, and I anticipate the miles before me.
But then there are days, like yesterday. If you’ve ever watched the movie, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” you might remember that Wolverine’s girlfriend had a superpower where she could control people’s minds simply by touching them. Near the end of the movie, she’s lying on the ground near death, and she grabs the ankle of the evil character, Major Stryker. She tells him to walk until he can walk no more, and with a hypnotized look, he turns and takes his first step. He reappears before the film ends with his shoes worn, clothes tattered, and face twisted in pain.
That was me yesterday.
And then to top it off, I stayed in a small town that, unbeknownst to me, was planning an all-night festival, and the stage for the live band faced our hostel. They started playing at dusk and were still playing when I left at 5 am. Lesson learned. Pay attention to the culture in which you’re walking.
Just like in life, some days are good and some days you wish you would’ve stayed in bed. The key is—don’t give up. I’ve talked to others on the Camino who’ve said, “I didn’t realize how long and hard this was going to be.” Actually, I’m the one who’s said that...more than once.
In “The Last Arrow,” Erwin McManus writes, “More often than not, the journey to where God wants to take us requires that we travel further than we ever expected.... But if you simply gave up because the journey was longer and harder than you expected, then you have become a settler when you should still be a pioneer. The unfortunate reality is that many of us would choose our comfort rather than our destiny, would choose safety over opportunity, would rather settle for less than sacrifice now.”
You may be having a hard walk right now. If so, then keep acting out your inner journey. Don’t settle. Don’t quit. Don’t give in. For many of us, we have fewer miles ahead of us than behind us, so let’s make every mile count.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians6:9, ESV).