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Why we walk

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
Hi
The last few days I have thought a lot about whether or not I should post this or not. But a brief conversation I had with Jan_D helped me to decide that I should write this. I think it would be a wonderful thing for others to share stories of how the Camino profoundly aided fellow pilgrims to recover from the pain that life can inflict upon all of us. A few years ago I saw a great Ted Talks video. The speaker was talking about how wrong it was to measure one person's pain against another. That we all feel pain and the source or the depth of the pain is irrelevant and not to be measured. It is still pain and we as humans should have empathy for all that are suffering.
2 years ago I walked the Camino Portuguese with one of my closest friends. 3 years earlier my friend suffered the greatest loss possible. The death of his daughter. I knew her since she was a baby and she was a wonderful and loving person. Mental illness took her and within a few years of her disease, she was gone. My friend and his wife devoted their lives during her illness to protecting her and trying to help her on her road to recovery. Sadly she took her own life. My friend found her. His grief and guilt, as you can imagine is overwhelming. I still suffer to this day and the thought of what he must feel, and his pain is absolutely the most frightening feeling I have ever experienced. Of course we think of this almost selfishly as I do not think only of his daughter but of my own children and my relief that this did not happen to one of my babies.
About 2 days into the Camino we met a man from Canada. He was very nice and we chatted with him briefly in an albergue where the 3 of us shared a room. The next day I was walking ahead of my friend and noticed he was walking about 50 yards behind me with this man. I started to wait for them and something, I don't know to this day what it was, but something told me to leave them alone. For the next few days they walked together almost exclusively. I rarely walked with them at all. They walked together until the man broke off to walk to Fatima. It was some anniversary of the miracle there and he wanted to pilgrimage there. A few days after we said goodbye to him, my friend in a very quiet moment in a lovely garden in an albergue we were staying at told me that this man had to twin boys. When they were 8 he was sitting on his porch and the boys were playing in the yard in yard of their house. A drunk driver drove up into the yard and killed one of his sons in front of him and his other son. The man sped away and was never found. Only another person who has suffered the fate my friend suffered could truly understand this loss. My friend told me quietly and of course with much pain how much their meeting and friendship helped him. I never asked what they discussed and I do not think it would have been appropriate or important to know. The knowledge that my dear friend met a brother like himself and could spend an extended period helping each other to heal was a true blessing for both of them.
I think many of us have met people like this on our camino. I think it might be a new blessing if others shared their stories of healing. We all have friends who are in pain,that we know who need to walk the camino but say I am not ready or how could it benefit me. Maybe with this story and others it will help to get these people on the Camino and hopefully ease their pain, even just a little. My friend told me that the Camino helped so much. He only waked to Porto with me. But next year he will do a full Camino as he now knows for himself, that the longer he walks the more he may have a chance to heal. Hopefully one of your stories can help another to begin the road to healing. Buen Camino everyone.
 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to walk in someone else's shoes.
It56ny, I understand where you are coming from but then don't many of us have some "cross to bear" that the Camino helps heal.
I have lost a daughter to suicide and it is the reason I started walking the Camino every years since 2011.
On my first Camino in 2011, I met someone the first night at Roncevalles. She asked me why I was walking the Camino and I said it was very personal. The next morning not knowing if we would walk together, I told her it was because of the death of my child.
The next night in Larrasoana we met again and she told me in exchange she had lived in the shadow of her father's suicide most of her adolence life.
I have since met some other pilgrims with similar stories.
Trust me it is not the way I start or end my introductions and conversations with anyone and there are many freinds of mine on this Forum who have no idea why I walk.
I walk and I walk and I love it.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
Met an unassuming German man on the Vezelay route. Not many pilgrims there, so we shared some albergues and greeted when we ran into each other. Although very friendly, he seemed a bit distant and formal, very organised and meticulous, and he didn't talk much. After about a week past our first encounter we happened to share the same destination for the day, after spending the night at the same refuge, so we decided to walk together that day.
Which went rather well, because our strides matched, and I can be quiet for hours when I have nothing to say. He was visibly pleased at the end of the day, and maybe even somewhat relieved. He dropped his distant and formal manner and acted more relaxed with me. We kept meeting sporadically the next couple of days, sometimes walking together for a few hours, sometimes passing each other with a friendly wave and a 'have a good one today!'.
The last time we shared a hostel he told me that the next day would be his last on the camino for that year. He had booked a train back home from the city at the end of that stage, and would resume his camino next year. "Walk together tomorrow? he asked? "Sure thing", I said.
The first few hours went the same as usual: quiet, maybe an interesting observation here and there. But then, after a short visit to a chapel on the way where Bach's music was playing, I told him a story about my dad who had loved Bach. He asked some questions, and the story expanded into a outline about the sometimes very strained relationship I'd had with my father.
After that we were quiet again for a while. And then he said: "Do you know why I walk the camino every year for three weeks, leaving my wife alone at home?" "Nope", I said. "To stay sane, and remember why I am very lucky", he said. He then told me the story of his upbringing and the relationship with his father, which went way beyond strained and deep into abusive territory. He told me all of it with a soft voice and such tight control that it was almost frightening to witness, while at the same time I could nearly see the shadow of his childhood and his father looming over him.
But he had found a way to keep his demons in check. He had married well, made quite the career and enjoyed talking about his two grown up kids who were succesful and happy. But since his kids had left home, he told me, he had too much time on his hands and his past had crept up on him. He became depressed, started crying at inappropriate moments and lost the plot for a while.
And then he discovered the camino, and it had made all the difference. It was the help he needed. Walking it he felt sane again, and back in control of his life ('however illusionary', he said with a wry smile, because he wasn't slow-witted by any means). So now he goes back every year, to start again where he ended last year. To keep himself sane and on the right track. And to remember how lucky he is.
Everybody has a story, and they all matter.
 
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MhaelK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
We all have a reason for walking or wanting to walk the camino - often this reason is more than just it could be an awesom trip. When I recommend walking the camino to other people I often mention the conversations you have with others as a major selling point, the conversations are deep from the first second - no need to chit chat as we already have something in common - we are walking for a reason even if that reason is not the same. Sharing is good, and on the camino you often end up sharing deep Rooted information that might end up leaving an impression on both you and the other part of the conversation - I believe that this is part of the healing/camino process for many people.

Sharing reasons for walking and how it has changed people is a great idea. However, I am a little uneasy about the fact that out of three posts two of them are about other people’s stories. As I said we all have reasons for walking the Camino and yet you are not telling your own - why? Likely because it is private or hard to share. The German guy waited days until sharing his reasons for walking with you, and now he can find it posted on the internet for all to read. I know my reason for walking is unique to me, and if I ever found it posted on the internet I would probably feel somewhat betraited by the friend I told on the camino.

I’m not trying to shame anybody or say what you did was wrong. I truely believe everything was shared with the intend of helping others or promote the camino spirit. However, you probably also have a reason or a story of change from within yourself - and this is the story I feel that should be shared, not others people’s story.

Sorry
 
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Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
I know my reason for walking is unique to me, and if I ever found it posted on the internet I would probably feel somewhat betraited by the friend I told on the camino.
I tried to be as careful and respectful as I could in writing down that story. But I decided to write it because it fitted so well in the frame that @lt56ny provided with his post. I don't think I betrayed the openness of my fellow pilgrim, mainly because I stayed away from details that could identify him for, indeed, reasons of privacy.
As for my personal reasons to walk, I have shared those on this forum more than once. Maybe in another context, but still. I won't post them here just to prove a point, but if you are curious, you can pm me and I'll happily share the links to those posts.
Having said all this, I do share your concern when it comes to publicly telling stories about other peoples motives, especially if told in confidence.
 

MhaelK

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
I tried to be as careful and respectful as I could in writing down that story. But I decided to write it because it fitted so well in the frame that @lt56ny provided with his post. I don't think I betrayed the openness of my fellow pilgrim, mainly because I stayed away from details that could identify him for, indeed, reasons of privacy.
As for my personal reasons to walk, I have shared those on this forum more than once. Maybe in another context, but still. I won't post them here just to prove a point, but if you are curious, you can pm me and I'll happily share the links to those posts.
Having said all this, I do share your concern when it comes to publicly telling stories about other peoples motives, especially if told in confidence.
As is said I was not trying to shame or attack you or anybody else - I believe everything was writing with the right intentions, and it is a beautiful example of how the camino heals. I was just sharing my thoughs on the subject. I loved the connections I was able to obtain with strangers on the camino, and the fact that people freely shared their deepest thoughts. For me that was one of the most precious part of the camino, and something to protect.

PS: I don’t really need/want to see any links as I am not the jugde of anybody.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to walk in someone else's shoes.
It56ny, I understand where you are coming from but then don't many of us have some "cross to bear" that the Camino helps heal.
I have lost a daughter to suicide and it is the reason I started walking the Camino every years since 2011.
On my first Camino in 2011, I met someone the first night at Roncevalles. She asked me why I was walking the Camino and I said it was very personal. The next morning not knowing if we would walk together, I told her it was because of the death of my child.
The next night in Larrasoana we met again and she told me in exchange she had lived in the shadow of her father's suicide most of her adolence life.
I have since met some other pilgrims with similar stories.
Trust me it is not the way I start or end my introductions and conversations with anyone and there are many freinds of mine on this Forum who have no idea why I walk.
I walk and I walk and I love it.
Firstly I wish to send you my heartfelt hope that you are finding some peace. I hope that you did not misunderstand what I was trying to say. My intention was not to intrude on anyone's life or to introduce anyone's suffering as a way to connect with anyone. My intention was only to give an example of how the Camino helped a dear friend. As I wrote I did not even ask my friend any conversation he had with the pilgrim he walked with. My intention was only to try to help others who may have friends or loved ones in some kind of pain to maybe give them a sliver of hope that by walking there may be an opportunity to have even a small shred of further understanding of their situation. As I also said we cannot measure anyone's pain. We all have it and it is all valid and life altering. My friend, even if it was just for a short time found some kind of solace and a chance to meet with someone who inherently understood his tragedy and maybe together they grew a little stronger. I hope that your walking helps you in that way. I am not trying to project I am only relaying something that I was a witness to. Nothing more, nothing less. I too walk because I love it. Sometimes it is even more than loving it. In my heart and I do not know why but I have to walk. Buen Camino my friend.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
Met an unassuming German man on the Vezelay route. Not many pilgrims there, so we shared some albergues and greeted when we ran into each other. Although very friendly, he seemed a bit distant and formal, very organised and meticulous, and he didn't talk much. After about a week past our first encounter we happened to share the same destination for the day, after spending the night at the same refuge, so we decided to walk together that day.
Which went rather well, because our strides matched, and I can be quiet for hours when I have nothing to say. He was visibly pleased at the end of the day, and maybe even somewhat relieved. He dropped his distant and formal manner and acted more relaxed with me. We kept meeting sporadically the next couple of days, sometimes walking together for a few hours, sometimes passing each other with a friendly wave and a 'have a good one today!'.
The last time we shared a hostel he told me that the next day would be his last on the camino for that year. He had booked a train back home from the city at the end of that stage, and would resume his camino next year. "Walk together tomorrow? he asked? "Sure thing", I said.
The first few hours went the same as usual: quiet, maybe an interesting observation here and there. But then, after a short visit to a chapel on the way where Bach's music was playing, I told him a story about my dad who had loved Bach. He asked some questions, and the story expanded into a outline about the sometimes very strained relationship I'd had with my father.
After that we were quiet again for a while. And then he said: "Do you know why I walk the camino every year for three weeks, leaving my wife alone at home?" "Nope", I said. "To stay sane, and remember why I am very lucky", he said. He then told me the story of his upbringing and the relationship with his father, which went way beyond strained and deep into abusive territory. He told me all of it with a soft voice and such tight control that it was almost frightening to witness, while at the same time I could nearly see the shadow of his childhood and his father looming over him.
But he had found a way to keep his demons in check. He had married well, made quite the career and enjoyed talking about his two grown up kids who were succesful and happy. But since his kids had left home, he told me, he had too much time on his hands and his past had crept up on him. He became depressed, started crying at inappropriate moments and lost the plot for a while.
And then he discovered the camino, and it had made all the difference. It was the help he needed. Walking it he felt sane again, and back in control of his life ('however illusionary', he said with a wry smile, because he wasn't slow-witted by any means). So now he goes back every year, to start again where he ended last year. To keep himself sane and on the right track. And to remember how lucky he is.
Everybody has a story, and they all matter.
You beautifully captured the spirit of what I was trying to say. Thank you.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
We all have a reason for walking or wanting to walk the camino - often this reason is more than just it could be an awesom trip. When I recommend walking the camino to other people I often mention the conversations you have with others as a major selling point, the conversations are deep from the first second - no need to chit chat as we already have something in common - we are walking for a reason even if that reason is not the same. Sharing is good, and on the camino you often end up sharing deep Rooted information that might end up leaving an impression on both you and the other part of the conversation - I believe that this is part of the healing/camino process for many people.

Sharing reasons for walking and how it has changed people is a great idea. However, I am a little uneasy about the fact that out of three posts two of them are about other people’s stories. As I said we all have reasons for walking the Camino and yet you are not telling your own - why? Likely because it is private or hard to share. The German guy waited days until sharing his reasons for walking with you, and now he can find it posted on the internet for all to read. I know my reason for walking is unique to me, and if I ever found it posted on the internet I would probably feel somewhat betraited by the friend I told on the camino.

I’m not trying to shame anybody or say what you did was wrong. I truely believe everything was shared with the intend of helping others or promote the camino spirit. However, you probably also have a reason or a story of change from within yourself - and this is the story I feel that should be shared, not others people’s story.

Sorry
I should have said that I called my friend and asked his permission before I wrote this. I told him I would keep things as ambiguous as possible. Before I posted it I even sent this to him to read. He said please post it, If my story can help one person it is well worth telling.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
I tried to be as careful and respectful as I could in writing down that story. But I decided to write it because it fitted so well in the frame that @lt56ny provided with his post. I don't think I betrayed the openness of my fellow pilgrim, mainly because I stayed away from details that could identify him for, indeed, reasons of privacy.
As for my personal reasons to walk, I have shared those on this forum more than once. Maybe in another context, but still. I won't post them here just to prove a point, but if you are curious, you can pm me and I'll happily share the links to those posts.
Having said all this, I do share your concern when it comes to publicly telling stories about other peoples motives, especially if told in confidence.
Please read what I wrote to another poster. I have cut and pasted it.
I should have said that I called my friend and asked his permission before I wrote this. I told him I would keep things as ambiguous as possible. Before I posted it I even sent this to him to read. He said please post it, If my story can help one person it is well worth telling.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Invierno (2019)
Camino Frances (2021)
Hi
The last few days I have thought a lot about whether or not I should post this or not. But a brief conversation I had with Jan_D helped me to decide that I should write this. I think it would be a wonderful thing for others to share stories of how the Camino profoundly aided fellow pilgrims to recover from the pain that life can inflict upon all of us. A few years ago I saw a great Ted Talks video. The speaker was talking about how wrong it was to measure one person's pain against another. That we all feel pain and the source or the depth of the pain is irrelevant and not to be measured. It is still pain and we as humans should have empathy for all that are suffering.
2 years ago I walked the Camino Portuguese with one of my closest friends. 3 years earlier my friend suffered the greatest loss possible. The death of his daughter. I knew her since she was a baby and she was a wonderful and loving person. Mental illness took her and within a few years of her disease, she was gone. My friend and his wife devoted their lives during her illness to protecting her and trying to help her on her road to recovery. Sadly she took her own life. My friend found her. His grief and guilt, as you can imagine is overwhelming. I still suffer to this day and the thought of what he must feel, and his pain is absolutely the most frightening feeling I have ever experienced. Of course we think of this almost selfishly as I do not think only of his daughter but of my own children and my relief that this did not happen to one of my babies.
About 2 days into the Camino we met a man from Canada. He was very nice and we chatted with him briefly in an albergue where the 3 of us shared a room. The next day I was walking ahead of my friend and noticed he was walking about 50 yards behind me with this man. I started to wait for them and something, I don't know to this day what it was, but something told me to leave them alone. For the next few days they walked together almost exclusively. I rarely walked with them at all. They walked together until the man broke off to walk to Fatima. It was some anniversary of the miracle there and he wanted to pilgrimage there. A few days after we said goodbye to him, my friend in a very quiet moment in a lovely garden in an albergue we were staying at told me that this man had to twin boys. When they were 8 he was sitting on his porch and the boys were playing in the yard in yard of their house. A drunk driver drove up into the yard and killed one of his sons in front of him and his other son. The man sped away and was never found. Only another person who has suffered the fate my friend suffered could truly understand this loss. My friend told me quietly and of course with much pain how much their meeting and friendship helped him. I never asked what they discussed and I do not think it would have been appropriate or important to know. The knowledge that my dear friend met a brother like himself and could spend an extended period helping each other to heal was a true blessing for both of them.
I think many of us have met people like this on our camino. I think it might be a new blessing if others shared their stories of healing. We all have friends who are in pain,that we know who need to walk the camino but say I am not ready or how could it benefit me. Maybe with this story and others it will help to get these people on the Camino and hopefully ease their pain, even just a little. My friend told me that the Camino helped so much. He only waked to Porto with me. But next year he will do a full Camino as he now knows for himself, that the longer he walks the more he may have a chance to heal. Hopefully one of your stories can help another to begin the road to healing. Buen Camino everyone.
Thank you for sharing 🙏🏻🥰
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
Thanks for posting the stories of these experiences. They touch me deeply. Am sitting here early morning with tears in my eyes. Strangely moved. In no way do I find them inappropriate sharing others experiences. Indeed, I felt that those who posted were sharing their own experiences of deep connections on the Camino. I think the Camino is like that, that we experience through solitude, but also through the eyes and hearts of other people. Thanks for posting. More, please!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2017, 2018 (2)
CP 2018
VDLP (mar-apr 2019)
We walk for many reasons. I respect and honor pilgrims who share openly at a communal meal or in private, while walking 1:1. If shared personally, not communally, I tend to respect that privacy.
I do note that easing one’s burden, either by lightening symbolically by sharing or placing a stone, is a healing process. Walking because you are happy, do not need to heal or share or release a burden, but because you can and want to, is a great reason to continue many Caminos.
It’s your Camino. Enjoy.
 

Cerebral Simian

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Del Norte > Primitivo (2019)
I walked the Camino Frances last year, only from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, as I was insecure on my ability, since I was 68. But I walked it in honor of the 30th anniversary of my first wife's death, lighting candles in the churches that were open, finally to request a requiem mass at the cathedral.

Even during those five short days, I encountered many others who struggled with bereavement, who had lost ones close to them. This year, I will return with a friend to walk the Del Norte until Villaviciosa, then down to Oviedo to pick up the Primitivo into Santiago de Compostela. During the five weeks we will take, I expect to encounter others similarly wounded from the events of their lives, seeking — as I do — grace in the pilgrimage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino Vasco interior
I would like to tell you about a day full of happiness - for me and for Dario, whom I did not even know at the beginning of the day.

Almost all my Camino I have run with Valerie, or in a small group.

But in Boadilla del Camino I parted with my little group because I wanted to run all by myself.

So I started in the morning, still in the dark, on my way to Carrion de los Condes. As often happens, I hummed a melody and suddenly I felt a sense of great happiness and great joy. So many thoughts were running through my mind about things which I saw as a great gift in my life. My family, my friends at home and here on the Camino, a good job, a life in a free country, my way without problems ....... and I had to cry with happiness.

At the end of the day I came to Carrion and went to the Albergue Santa Maria next to the church. There I was greeted smilingly by one of the nuns and greeted by my name Michael - I had never been there before, how did she know my name?

In the evening, we met for a spiritual meeting in one of the rooms. Normally I meet other Germans in every major Albergue, but there were almost only Italians, Spaniards and Frenchmen.

A nun invited us to introduce ourselves and perhaps to say why we are on the way to Santiago.

One of the first to tell was Dario from Palermo / Sicily. He was a guy like a tree, very tall and very muscular.

He said: "My name is Dario and I am on my way to Santiago to say thank you. A few years ago my wife was expecting our first child. The birth was very difficult. The doctors told me that my child wouldn't survive and also the survival of my wife was in great danger ". He had to fight back tears and even the young Italian, who translated everything into English, had great difficulty not to cry. He continued, "Then I prayed a lot and it was a miracle, my wife and daughter survived the birth and were healthy, but the doctors told us not to have any more children. But years later our daughter wanted so much to have a little brother. We prayed to St. James to help us and to protect my wife and this year in January our little son was born and the birth was quick and easy, and now I walked from home to Santiago to thank St. James for the help. "

Each of the listeners had tears in their eyes.

Then we sang something, including the Spanish song Allegria. This song has the melody from Beethoven's 9th Symphony. When the song was over, the nun smiled at me and asked: "Michael, you are the only German here today, can you sing for us the song once in the original language?". I was surprised at myself that I did that without problems.

The following Mass was full of pilgrims and it was a very special service. The nuns and all the pilgrims sang beautifully, and before the Salve Regina, the priest gave each pilgrim his personal pilgrims' blessing in very moving words. For almost every pilgrim in his language.

The next morning Dario was gone much earlier than me and I thought I would never see him again.

When I was sitting in the cathedral at the end of my pilgrimage, Dario suddenly stood by the pillar beside me.

After the Mass, we all met in front of the cathedral at Plaza Obradoiro and Dario run to me and pressed me to him crying like a child. I thought he was breaking every bone in my body, so tight was he hugging me. Unfortunately he only spoke Italian and I asked Luca from our group to translate everything.

I told Luca that I met Dario in Carrion, but so far we have not spoken to each other. Luca was very surprised at the emotions of Dario and asked him why the meeting with me would affect him so much.

And Dario replied, crying, "But Michelle, you sang in Carrion for me - for me, my wife and my children - I will not forget that in my whole life.

Sometimes you do not even know that you made someone very happy with such a little thing like a song.
 

Philip Hartney

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 - first time
Wonderful experience, what true life is all about, and makes you empathetic, humbled and more human.
In my own case, I did my first Camino last year, after I was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis, I completed CF in 30 days. Everyone I met had their own reasons, whether stated on not, and for me I was guided by an inexplicable divine power, I met and traveled with some of the most wonderful people I met in my life, and it was to me the highlight of the very many things that I achieved upto now with my life. I plan to do the CP from Porto after my current Chemo, in May and if the body holds out, would love to do the CF again September this year. This is why I walk, and I hope to have may more steps.......
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
Hi
The last few days I have thought a lot about whether or not I should post this or not. But a brief conversation I had with Jan_D helped me to decide that I should write this. I think it would be a wonderful thing for others to share stories of how the Camino profoundly aided fellow pilgrims to recover from the pain that life can inflict upon all of us. A few years ago I saw a great Ted Talks video. The speaker was talking about how wrong it was to measure one person's pain against another. That we all feel pain and the source or the depth of the pain is irrelevant and not to be measured. It is still pain and we as humans should have empathy for all that are suffering.
2 years ago I walked the Camino Portuguese with one of my closest friends. 3 years earlier my friend suffered the greatest loss possible. The death of his daughter. I knew her since she was a baby and she was a wonderful and loving person. Mental illness took her and within a few years of her disease, she was gone. My friend and his wife devoted their lives during her illness to protecting her and trying to help her on her road to recovery. Sadly she took her own life. My friend found her. His grief and guilt, as you can imagine is overwhelming. I still suffer to this day and the thought of what he must feel, and his pain is absolutely the most frightening feeling I have ever experienced. Of course we think of this almost selfishly as I do not think only of his daughter but of my own children and my relief that this did not happen to one of my babies.
About 2 days into the Camino we met a man from Canada. He was very nice and we chatted with him briefly in an albergue where the 3 of us shared a room. The next day I was walking ahead of my friend and noticed he was walking about 50 yards behind me with this man. I started to wait for them and something, I don't know to this day what it was, but something told me to leave them alone. For the next few days they walked together almost exclusively. I rarely walked with them at all. They walked together until the man broke off to walk to Fatima. It was some anniversary of the miracle there and he wanted to pilgrimage there. A few days after we said goodbye to him, my friend in a very quiet moment in a lovely garden in an albergue we were staying at told me that this man had to twin boys. When they were 8 he was sitting on his porch and the boys were playing in the yard in yard of their house. A drunk driver drove up into the yard and killed one of his sons in front of him and his other son. The man sped away and was never found. Only another person who has suffered the fate my friend suffered could truly understand this loss. My friend told me quietly and of course with much pain how much their meeting and friendship helped him. I never asked what they discussed and I do not think it would have been appropriate or important to know. The knowledge that my dear friend met a brother like himself and could spend an extended period helping each other to heal was a true blessing for both of them.
I think many of us have met people like this on our camino. I think it might be a new blessing if others shared their stories of healing. We all have friends who are in pain,that we know who need to walk the camino but say I am not ready or how could it benefit me. Maybe with this story and others it will help to get these people on the Camino and hopefully ease their pain, even just a little. My friend told me that the Camino helped so much. He only waked to Porto with me. But next year he will do a full Camino as he now knows for himself, that the longer he walks the more he may have a chance to heal. Hopefully one of your stories can help another to begin the road to healing. Buen Camino everyone.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to walk in someone else's shoes.
It56ny, I understand where you are coming from but then don't many of us have some "cross to bear" that the Camino helps heal.
I have lost a daughter to suicide and it is the reason I started walking the Camino every years since 2011.
On my first Camino in 2011, I met someone the first night at Roncevalles. She asked me why I was walking the Camino and I said it was very personal. The next morning not knowing if we would walk together, I told her it was because of the death of my child.
The next night in Larrasoana we met again and she told me in exchange she had lived in the shadow of her father's suicide most of her adolence life.
I have since met some other pilgrims with similar stories.
Trust me it is not the way I start or end my introductions and conversations with anyone and there are many freinds of mine on this Forum who have no idea why I walk.
I walk and I walk and I love it.
i cannot say ‘like’ but I do say thank you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino Vasco interior
Hello Philip,

guided and protected - that's how I felt my whole Camino. I did not see him, but I could feel his breath.

I am very pleased that you, right now, in your health situation, got such an experience. I am firmly convinced that you didn´t just meet these wonderful people - they have been sent to you.

The Camino is full of people who were sent like angels, without knowing it.

I wish you all the best for your chemo and I am very sure that we will see you this year on the way.

Buen Camino
Michael
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
Met an unassuming German man on the Vezelay route. Not many pilgrims there, so we shared some albergues and greeted when we ran into each other. Although very friendly, he seemed a bit distant and formal, very organised and meticulous, and he didn't talk much. After about a week past our first encounter we happened to share the same destination for the day, after spending the night at the same refuge, so we decided to walk together that day.
Which went rather well, because our strides matched, and I can be quiet for hours when I have nothing to say. He was visibly pleased at the end of the day, and maybe even somewhat relieved. He dropped his distant and formal manner and acted more relaxed with me. We kept meeting sporadically the next couple of days, sometimes walking together for a few hours, sometimes passing each other with a friendly wave and a 'have a good one today!'.
The last time we shared a hostel he told me that the next day would be his last on the camino for that year. He had booked a train back home from the city at the end of that stage, and would resume his camino next year. "Walk together tomorrow? he asked? "Sure thing", I said.
The first few hours went the same as usual: quiet, maybe an interesting observation here and there. But then, after a short visit to a chapel on the way where Bach's music was playing, I told him a story about my dad who had loved Bach. He asked some questions, and the story expanded into a outline about the sometimes very strained relationship I'd had with my father.
After that we were quiet again for a while. And then he said: "Do you know why I walk the camino every year for three weeks, leaving my wife alone at home?" "Nope", I said. "To stay sane, and remember why I am very lucky", he said. He then told me the story of his upbringing and the relationship with his father, which went way beyond strained and deep into abusive territory. He told me all of it with a soft voice and such tight control that it was almost frightening to witness, while at the same time I could nearly see the shadow of his childhood and his father looming over him.
But he had found a way to keep his demons in check. He had married well, made quite the career and enjoyed talking about his two grown up kids who were succesful and happy. But since his kids had left home, he told me, he had too much time on his hands and his past had crept up on him. He became depressed, started crying at inappropriate moments and lost the plot for a while.
And then he discovered the camino, and it had made all the difference. It was the help he needed. Walking it he felt sane again, and back in control of his life ('however illusionary', he said with a wry smile, because he wasn't slow-witted by any means). So now he goes back every year, to start again where he ended last year. To keep himself sane and on the right track. And to remember how lucky he is.
Everybody has a story, and they all matter.
Thank you
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk all camino commencing 3rd april
It is hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to walk in someone else's shoes.
It56ny, I understand where you are coming from but then don't many of us have some "cross to bear" that the Camino helps heal.
I have lost a daughter to suicide and it is the reason I started walking the Camino every years since 2011.
On my first Camino in 2011, I met someone the first night at Roncevalles. She asked me why I was walking the Camino and I said it was very personal. The next morning not knowing if we would walk together, I told her it was because of the death of my child.
The next night in Larrasoana we met again and she told me in exchange she had lived in the shadow of her father's suicide most of her adolence life.
I have since met some other pilgrims with similar stories.
Trust me it is not the way I start or end my introductions and conversations with anyone and there are many freinds of mine on this Forum who have no idea why I walk.
I walk and I walk and I love it.
I completely agree - I too have had much pain in my life and this was the reason I started walking the camino in 2008 - I do not start any conversation about my loss and it is not at the moment up for general discussion even though it is 12 years ago - if I meet a fellow pilgrim along the way I may discuss and more probably may not - depends on how secure I feel with the conversation - we are all on a journey - the camino is extremely healing
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Kirkie, I like your new emoji!
I would like to share a story similar to Michael, the Camino-addicted pilgrim, about the time I walked the CP for the first time. I met two young ladies at Casa Fernanda, they had been walking together since Porto and become great friends, apparently sharing some personal heart breaks they were both dealing with; one was Irish and the other Danish. We had some conversation that evening and like it always is at Fernanda's the evening became more festive. Sadly, the Irish girl was quitting her Camino the next day in Ponte de Lima. We said our good-byes after breakfast but as the Camino provides we met up again later that morning. They were curious about my age, I responded and they said they thought I was at least 20 years younger. Quite flattering, to say the least.
Oh well, so may days later I was walking into Porrino through the industrial mess before town and what to my wonder was the reflection of my Danish friend behind me. We walked for a week together and just before Santiago split up again. There was couple from Canada we walked with during that week. When I got to Santiago I ran into the Canadian couple and they said my friends was looking all over town for me. Finally we met during Sunday mass at the Cathedral.
That was 2013 and we still keep up with each other. She got married and has two very lovely children. Life is amazing and the Camino is much, much more.
 
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tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); Fall (2020) I hope
My Dad died a week before I walked the Camino Frances in 2015. I loved my Dad dearly and mourned his death deeply, but I didn’t walk the Camino for him. I walked it for me. In the movie, “The Way,” Captain Henri Sebastian asks Tom if he knows why he is walking The Way. Tom’s answer is that he supposes he’s walking it for his son, Daniel. Captain Sebastian replies with what I think is the truest line uttered in that entire movie, saying, “you walk the Camino for yourself, only for yourself.”

My original impetus for walking the Camino was the physical challenge. In the end, it took on a much more spiritual meaning. When I started walking the Camino, I would break into tears merely thinking of my Dad. By the end, I could think back on his life with warm feelings of happiness. The physical aspect of walking the Camino became secondary to the spiritual healing I received. As you and others have said, Lyle, the Camino gave me what I needed, not what I wanted.
 
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