Crossing the Finish Line

It has been two years since I crossed the “finish line” of the 500 mile Camino de Santiago. June 9, 2011 began a month long journey that would forever impact my perception of life and purpose. In many ways, the Camino images our life journey towards our ultimate goal: Heaven. In another way, though, it also mirrors the many tiny caminos that make up our life. Let me explain. There is a sense at the end of the Camino of “arrival.” It is so real and tangible you can taste, feel, and breathe in the relief, joy, satisfaction, accomplishment and excitement of arriving at your destination. This is one of two potent images I have of my arrival in Santiago, the indescribable moment of “arrival”, but the second is of thousands of pilgrims scattered across the Cathedral Square (where the Camino “ends”) and the intensity of the question hanging in the air among them…”What now?” You see, while Santiago was an end, it was also a beginning. And, how many times do we find ourselves in this position throughout our lives. We walk and walk and walk in preparation for some end (marriage, consecration, a new baby, graduation from high school or college), but upon “arrival” we realize we must simply begin again. This is the beauty of the Christian life, that we are gifted with a sort of healthy unsatisfaction, so as to be driven on towards the only end which will fully, completely and truly satisfy us heart, mind, body and soul. And so in this way, I believe God calls us to walk well each tiny camino and then upon arriving at some “end,” continue to journey on, growing always in love and holiness until the day he calls us to cross the final finish line. On that day, may he say of each of us “They have fought they good fight. They have won the race. They have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

Now, I hope you enjoy this “behind the scenes” photo montage of my time on the Camino…The following journey will be written in the font of “Sarcastica,” please do not be dissuaded by my humor…I would walk the Camino again tomorrow…in fact, I would have turned around and walked it again on July 10, 2011. So laugh with me…but then, go and walk it yourself! It will forever change you for the better. I promise. Go.

Day 1…Nothing like a good 7km straight up the Pyrenees mountains to wake you up in the morning…also, please note the size of my pack…I think it lost more weight than I did on the Camino!?
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A well deserved “almost to the top” break! Also, goodbye, France…hello, Spain!
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Day Two with our new friends, Maria & Emma!
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Best Advice EVER!!!!
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End of day two…still enough energy to be funny. 🙂
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Just a typical take off your shoes stop…
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More food generously offered to me…that sadly, I could not eat…”Krista?” 🙂
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Yes! That is a WINE FOUNTAIN!!! To bad we passed it at 6am!? While I’d like to say we drank it anyway…considering we sacrificed our water bottles to the cause of bottling FREE wine FROM A WINE FOUNTAIN…but by the time we reached our destination, we had completely forgotten about it and it had baked in the sun for a good six hours before we remembered. Missed opportunity. 😦
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The Day I found a home for my walking stick…on the rare occasion I didn’t feel like using it, leaning on it, practically considering it a third leg!
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Two of my favorite things on the Camino…the Spanish sunrise and Poppies!
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Oh look, an arrow on the back of that sign! Perhaps the next one will be on some obscure rock, or on a building, on a tree, or painted directly on the street!? Where’s Waldo at its finest!
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Exploring at the end of a day’s journey. 
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Because we can! After finishing a delicious dinner of locally bottled wine, fresh cherries and dark chocolate, we decided these fine rock walls seemed the perfect place for a siesta!
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Our Awesome Life-saving Guidebook! We only found ourselves a few times wanting to bury it in the Spanish desert and leave it forever. 🙂 This being one of them.
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Just your average 5 minute break…shoes off, check. feet up, check. drink water, check. any blisters? shoes on and walk. 🙂
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And so the energy returns…
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A glass of local wine…the best way to end a day on the Camino!
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Sweet Journaling…
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You stay where you are and I’ll stay where I am…K, Thanks!
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Che Cosa e Questo???
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Sweet Arrival…Santiago de Compostela. (Note my pack’s significant weight loss!) Life becomes simple on the camino…it becomes about only what you really NEED and it becomes about putting one foot in front of the other…but then after doing so faithfully, day after day…you find that suddenly you end up somewhere unimaginably wonderful! 
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