One day on the trail and the Camino is already ready to teach. A few hours into today’s walk I was able to meet Marieka (green jacket in photo above) from Western Germany. She had been on the trail for about 6 days so far. About 3 nights ago she sat down and visited with a couple from France. She explained how she was having trouble with her knee as she made her way. She knew it had much to do with the weight of her pack.
As the conversation went further the wise French couple said the answer was clear. Get rid of non-essential items from her pack. Sounds easy right? They told her to get rid of the extra pair of shoes. She protested, “maybe my current pair will wear out by the end.” Then they told her to get rid of the 2 days of food that she had in her pack. This was made even more ridiculous because when she got to a town, she didn’t want to eat the things she was carrying, she wanted to eat from the restaurant. Yet still, she couldn’t let go, “maybe there won’t be anything to eat and I will get hungry.” They quickly told her how running out of food on the Camino is impossible (I can easily verify that).
At that, the Frenchmen exclaimed – “NO MORE MAYBES! You must let go.”
Don’t we all need to let go a little? I know I do. What are the maybes that we hold on to? I think this is part of the Christian life. There are a couple of lessons in there for me.
One, don’t try to go on this journey of life alone. You need to depend on others, and you need to depend on Christ to provide. It is hard for Him to work if we try to control everything. It is hard for others to be generous and meaningful in our lives if we don’t let others help us.
Two, we can’t be fully alive if we don’t boil down our priorities to the essentials. If not, we end up being weighed down and we won’t be able to move forward. In fact, progress might stop all together. If Marieka’s knee gets sore because of the weight she carries, she won’t be able to make forward progress to Santiago.
So Marieka got to work removing the extras. She laid out all her possessions on the bed and only put back what was absolutely necessary. Everything else had to go. The food, gone. Her extra trousers, poof gone (I tried not to laugh, but her German accent calling her pants trousers made it hard not to crack up). She briefly considered mailing her extra shoes (worth about $40) back home for $35. “Maybe I will want those when I get home,” she thought. Then she slowly repeated, “No more maybes,” and left them at the Alburgue as a donation for another pilgrim that might truly be in need.