One of the questions a pilgrim is asked over and over again while on the Camino is, “Why are you doing this?” The answers are varied and often fascinating. Take Clara from Bulgaria, a woman who was in my dormitory on this particular night. She was walking the Camino because she has an 20-year old autistic son and she was looking for answers in terms of how to care for him in the future.
She told me that before she left home to come on this trip, a very dear friend had given her a card in an envelope. It was addressed ‘Clara to Clara’, her friend’s name also being Clara and apparently contained some words that had sustained and inspired her as she walked. Five days before I met her, she lost the card and she was heartbroken (little momentos from home tend to mean a lot on the Camino).
However the night before I met her, something told her to go to the Cathedral in the town where she was staying that night (Logrono). She was exhausted and the last thing she felt like doing was walking some more, but this ‘voice’ wouldn’t go away and finally pushed her to go to the church.
At the Cathedral she met a man who was doing a documentary for Belgium TV on the Camino. The two of them started to talk and the reporter, upon learning her name, mentioned he had found a letter several days ago addressed to a Clara. Could it be hers? Of course she was over the moon and was hugging the letter close to her as she told me this story.
Shortly after that, something else rather fantastical happened. Jo Anne was telling Moya and I about a woman from England she had met on a previous Camino six years ago. The woman’s name was Vicki. Lo and behold, who walks into our room a short while later but Vicki!
It’s become obvious to me that there is an ‘other worldliness’ about the Camino; nothing would surprize me from here on in…not even the morning I saw a halo around my head. But that’s a story for another day.