¡Buen Camino!

Dear Friends,
It has taken three tries and nine years, but as of July 2012, I have finally walked the entire Way of Compostela from my former home in Leuven/Louvain, Belgium, to Santiago de Composela!
My first pilgrimage experience from the French frontier with Spain to Santiago itself took place in 2003. You can read the details of this first walk along the famous Camino across Spain in my book, To The Field of Stars: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago de Compostela, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (2008). (You can order it from the publisher, from Amazon.com, or from your local bookseller).
In the summer and early fall of 2007, I walked from Belgium most of the way across France, with the hope of at least making it to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port near the Spanish border, where I began the first pilgrimage. I didn't quite make it. A bad case of plantar fasciitis took me down in the Bordeaux village of Sainte-Ferme. I continued on to Santiago by train and bus, but the "defeat of my feet" and those last 175 miles or so that were left undone, gnawed at me over the ensuing five years. Happily, I was finally able to wrap up this grand pilgrimage with a third walk from Sainte-Ferme to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port this past summer (2012). It was a joy to have completed all 2,370 kilometers between Leuven and Santiago.
My adventures and misadventures, my thoughts and prayers of both the 2007 and 2012 pilgrimages have been shared in this blog. I will leave the blog and its archives open for some time to come; if you want to read bits and pieces of it, feel free, but remember that the beginning is at the bottom and the end is at the top.
My contact e-mail remains the same: kacodd@gmail.com; I am always happy to receive mail!
As the pilgrims in Spain greet one another, so I greet you, my reader: "Buen Camino!"
And as the people of France greet their pilgrims along the "Chemin", I also wish to you: "Courage!"

Grace and peace to you all!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Just Thirty Days...

June 1: Only thirty days until my "C-day" (see previous post) and now I am getting nervous though that edginess about the upcoming adventure is mixed with excitement and a sense of mission.
I have packed my backpack and given it a name (it was produced by a company called "Gregory" and so it has been dubbed officially "Gregory the Great" (non-church types will have to Google the name to learn more here). My boots are fitting great these days; I took a risk and spent a lot of money on this Meindle brand out of Bavaria, but it was worth the investment because they now fit like gloves...and feel like gloves on my feet. I've been to the doc and he says my cholesteral is perfect (with the help of a pill), my blood pressure is right where it should be (with the help of a pill), and my heart is ticking the way it was designed to tick (with the help of several pills).
There is just one problem: I've developed a hitch in my right knee that has become rather painful at times, while at other times it is barely noticeable. The fickleness of it is what bugs me most. Some are telling me that I'm finally feeling the dark side of 35 years of jogging. Maybe. I go in to see the orthopedist down the street later this coming week; then I guess I'll know. I went out yesterday for a two hour hike with my pack loaded to 25 pounds and as the walk progressed through the soft and green Egenhoven Woods the knee got better and better so that is a hopeful sign. I'm looking for hopeful signs, of course, because I do not intend to let this knee keep me from my pilgrim mission...and it now truly feels like a mission. I MUST go! I'm being drawn, called, pulled, jerked onto this road. If Santiago wants me back, then he will have to take care of me along the way. I'm trusting this one to him. I feel like I know him, having done this once before (though, admittedly, on a much smaller scale).
I'm also deep into the process of letting go of my world here in Louvain. It is not so easy and my patience is thinning even as my focus on daily tasks and responsibilities gets more diffuse. "Authority" here is running through my fingers like sand. So I'm doing my best to ride this last month as it comes and not take the daily problems or upsets or demands too seriously. This parting is a sweet sorrow and one I'm trying to savor even as I wish it were already over. Am I counting down the days? Look at the title of this post: of course I am! I can't wait to begin my new pilgrim life though in the end it will not be so different from my present and past life since I remain who I am here or there. Pilgrims don't escape...they just walk more freely for awhile.
Grace and peace!