Today was a great day. Today we were united with Blaise and Grace back on the Way. It was wonderful to relive moments with Blaise while watching Grace experience something brand new. Heading out of Pamplona we climbed the modest mountain of Alto del Perdón with an inspiring view as we looked back at the city over our shoulder.

Today I also am feeling at my “Camino Solstice.” My calves have finally stopped burning and my feet are feeling great. All of the 2021 pilgrimage my heels burned with pain. As I set out this time, I am pain-free. I think my legs have been tight from the workout they got earlier this week, but after some time and lots of stretching, they are ready to go the distance.

Last night we shared with Blaise and Grace that our Albergue before Pamplona had cleared out by 7:00am and we were some of the last to leave at 7:30am. I thought that seemed odd, but Blaise certainly agreed that it was odd. As we headed out of Pamplona we again left at 7:30am, but we were being passed left and right. We stopped at churches, and fountains, and took some snack breaks. As the day proceeded the crowds grew thinner.

Mind you, this was not completely natural. I did want to protect one of the members of our team that wasn’t feeling well, but more importantly, I wanted to remember to be “Tranquilo.”

“Tranquilo” is a word roughly meaning to Chill Out or Don’t Worry. As the head of a household of 13, I naturally have to worry a lot. The Camino, however, is a time to slow down and savor, to slow down and reflect. I had my moments, but I think we got it mostly right today. I let the other people pass and just lived in the moments with our group and with God in his creation. We didn’t need to hurry at all and we did our best to take our walk at a prudent pace.

Another blessing of slowing down is it allows us to observe and reflect. Deeply.  This leads to meaningful insights for myself, but also from others.  You can have a conversation where you really listen, where you empathize.  It’s the kind of activity we don’t always take time to do back home.  Just from being around my son and his friend Grace, I have had some observations that I think will prove useful for my relationship with my wife.  Yes, I know she is among the readers of this blog, but I’m not sure I will share these insights with her.  Sometimes revelations are just for you.

So a little advice to pilgrims that keep passing us, “Tranquilo fellow Pilgrim,” and let today take as long as it needs. I think we could all handle a little Camino advice in our daily lives by being more “Tranquilo” and letting God take care of the details so we can pay attention to the whispers he is giving us.