DISASTER!!! I have caught the Man Flu! As any right thinking person would know, the Man Flu is a serious and debilitating illness which will lay any but the most heroic low for weeks, even months. It is NOT just a cold!
I have however heroically pressed on, against doctor’s orders, well if I’d seen a doctor I’m sure this is what they would have ordered.
Despite the cruel hand of pestilence visited upon me, I have loved the last few days. I took an extra day in Burgos to look around. I have then slept out for all but one of the days since. I have slept in a field, in haystacks, but my personal favourite I slept in the ruins of an old castle.. I was kind of hoping to meet a ghost or a vampire or something, but no such luck. These sleeping out experiences have been fabulous, the moon has been rising around 0100, it is waning at the moment but still more than half full (I’m a moon half full kind of guy). It is a real treat to wake in the night and watch the moon work her way across the sky. I did wake one night to see two wild dogs looking at me from around 30 meters away, actually I say “wild” but they could easily have been from one of the farms nearby, but we’ll stick with wild to keep the story interesting. Sleeping out was for me part of the pilgrim experience that I wanted to try.
I’m writing this with less than a day’s walk into Leon. A few people I have met have told me that the section from Burgos to Leon is boring and terrible, but I must say that this was not my experience. It is certainly flatter after Fromista, but still some lovely scenery. From Burgos to Fromista has some fabulous bits, including the castle ruins I slept in. There is also an amazing table top mountain which is hard work climbing but totally worth the effort when you get to see the amazing scene from the top.
As you would know from previous writings, I am walking on my own now. I love my friends and I miss them, but walking alone I think is an important part of the journey for me. In truth there was one particular day where I felt a deep loneliness, but I guess that’s an important part of appreciating the journey with friends.
Which brings me to one of my reflections. Actually this one has been wandering around in my brain for some time now, so it’s time I tried to give it a home. So the reflection is this, all the GREAT stories have a time of deep darkness in the middle. The thing that makes them great stories is in the overcoming. Think about it, any movie or book or great historical story seems to have this element. The dark days of World War II, the death and resurrection of Jesus, When Harry Met Sally.
So, I have some thoughts on this. Firstly, if you want to be a part of a great story, you must be prepared to sail a dark and stormy sea. Having said that, I’m thinking that when the people in these stories are going through the dark times, they’re probably not thinking “wow this is great, I’m part of a great story”. They’re in the darkness, despairing, broken, desperate.
So perhaps if you ever find yourself in a dark and desperate place, it may be worth remembering that the story is not over yet. Even sometimes when the story seems absolutely over, it may not be over yet. You may be in the middle bit of a great story.
I’ve been through a few dark times in my years on this Earth, and thankfully so far they have all been part of good stories, in the end. I didn’t think I was in a good story at the time, I just thought that this really hurts and I want it to stop. I prayed a lot. I really want to determine to be part of a great story whenever I face these dark times in the future. God help me in this.
To my friends who have been my journey companions in the dark times, you cannot begin to know how lucky I think I am to have had you at my side.
Hugs Aplenty to you all.