Today, we greeted the dawn much earlier.  By 6:00 am we were up and ready to begin anew. The sun rose in tandem with our spirits.

Rather than battling against time, today we were its partners. We savored many pauses today – unhurried coffee breaks (3 cappuccinos today!), a unique comedia meal, and quiet moments of prayer with the rosary in hand. There was time to explore churches, do laundry, catch up with family, and for some of our team, time for a midday siesta. And now, at 5:30pm, I am here, sharing our day with you, while still anticipating the evening’s riches: a tour of the cathedral, the evening Mass, tapas, and a well-deserved drink.

Yesterday felt like a whirlwind that left us little room for error. Perhaps we were too “Tranquilo” with our approach.  One time, I asked these young adults what time they thought we should commence our day.  I quickly got back the answer of around 9am. Clearly, I should have prefaced the question with a gentle reminder that any time after sunrise would be more appropriate.

Yet, I am heartened to see that everyone is seeing that an earlier start allows us to savor the journey more fully, leaving us with an abundant afternoon and evening for relaxation. In essence, we must hasten our departure to prolong our tranquility.

This strange paradox seems to be an echo of my own life. I find satisfaction in completing work before unwinding, in settling bills before indulging in life’s extras. Even as a child, I remember how it would ruin my Saturday if Dad wanted to move hogs in the afternoon.  I would just prefer that we get it out of the way in the morning so I didn’t have that arduous task hanging over my head.

With time, I’ve come to understand this characteristic of mine. It has shaped my approach to life, and now it guides our Camino journey as well. As for the young souls accompanying me, they are learning to adapt to the pace of this self-confessed old curmudgeon. So here we are, walking the fine line between haste and tranquility, and learning the correct balance along with Way.  Sorry, I’m complicated.