“conservationist Cathedral bell eyes, ancient stone hands,
stain-glass face, paintbrush heart
Caught in the chasm of a mind on repeat,
with power invisible, but momentous trapped.
builder Curator of mansions for lost time,
holes drilled, pressure released
Cathedrals secured, resting in peace,
bells kick up the dust that become my lust.
girl Broken wings floating in duplicity,
rainbow vein reflections
drifting down two streams of uncertainty,
craving unity, life once filling their transparency
Walking to Finisterre
looking to get her hands dirty.”
I’ve wrestled for weeks about how to begin writing about the distinct imprint the Camino has left on me. It’s thoroughly painted on the canvas that is my life story, and while I am overwhelmed with gratitude, I’ve also had to allow myself time to sit and ponder its artwork.
It was like God took all kinds of materials lying around the studio of my soul, picked up my hands, and began to create something out of what felt like nothing. My sacred space with Him felt full of the nonsense happenings of life- experiences I’d loathed, anger I had stored away in all kinds of soul storage bins. Photographs, words, and quotes that evoked strong feelings in me I was fearful of, a piece of paper that- as the Indigo Girls would say was a product of my “four years prostrate to the higher mind,” yet, I felt unresolved instead of free.
“Mind, heart, and body connected But suspended Looking for love in its all.”
A few years ago God gave me this vision of my head, my heart, and my body all connected but suspended. And all I could feel as a result of that picture was the pain of fragmentation in my own existence.
It’s about to get hot and existential up in here, so hold on tight.
Every corner I turned I felt as though the demands of the culture and church I lived in weren’t able to offer me any solace.
Mentors in and out of church came and went, all doing the only thing most know how to do with the sincerest of intentions- disciple to duplicate, but that wasn’t working for me.
I absorbed narratives like, “your feelings are real, but they’re not reliable,” and “lets be careful not to cause the young men to stumble,” and “it’s vital you have a solid worldview, because that liberal university isn’t a safe place for young adults who don’t have a solid intellectual foundation.”
My internal pendulum swung. I suppressed emotions, numbed out my physical body, and allowed my mind to be swallowed up by books, stacked on books, stacked on books, fighting each and every day to prove I was above it all. Untouchable is the word that comes to mind.
How can one “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” when you’ve been living life idolizing your mind for so long?
Tangled in my own heresy, perpetuated by a culture unaware of its own fragmentation, and a church failing to communicate across divides, I boarded a plane to Madrid. Weepy from a good-bye to my parents that felt bigger than the adventure I saw before me- six weeks (or so I thought) to ‘walk wild,’ and do all the things that I had looked at behind the safety of a glass window. I will always remember it as the first bravest decision I ever made for myself.
Arriving in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port felt like being a popped champaign cork that flew between a buzzed crowd at the Pyrenean foothills.
To be continued…