‘Whoever wishes to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.’
Our last day in Portugal. It feels like we’ve got a proper rhythm to the days now – rising, walking, resting, greeting fellow pilgrims arriving in time for siesta. The days stretch leisurely giving us plenty of time to talk and be silent, to walk and to rest.
We talked for part of the way about story, about the idea that the Church is a collection of people who have adopted one story as their own, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We all have collective stories which are powerful in shaping our identities, habits, practices, routines, terminology and humour. Some stories we are born into – the stories of our families or our nations, some are thrust upon us, like the story of war, and some we choose for ourselves, for example, to walk a road behind, with and in front of hundreds of others. Our story of the Camino de Santiago is one of thousands told over many years. The story of medieval pilgrims has become ours and ours has become part of theirs. The threads of all these stories tie together into one grand tale.
FF is here because someone told her their story about the Camino; I am here because FF told that story to me. The characters in our story have their own stories, their own reasons for walking the Camino, and their stories told to us along the way, are becoming part of our own account.