Day 42: Tim from Alaska

(Note: I met Tim two years ago in Leon, Spain, two-thirds across the Camino de Santiago. Like so many pilgrimage relationships, our time together was short, ( I never got his last name) but long enough for a conversation I’ll never forget.)


Dear Tim,

If you searched long enough I suppose you could find all sorts of quotes with wisdom and grace about woundedness and the healing that may follow. So many will say we’re better and stronger for it all. Even so, we may always have our doubts and wonder … why???

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-4-35-38-amOne thing you learn on the camino is how certain pilgrims have stories that precede them. Just as the pilgrim herds wander slowly across the Way, their stories somehow become a part of everyone’s experience, and the focal point of their respect.

I’d heard your story from others. So thankful to hear it from you.

The magnitude of your loss still resonates.

You’d come walking in a tribute to your wife who’d died 18 months earlier. She was a physical therapist and lifeguard out for an afternoon walk when she experienced a seizure, fell to the ground and drown in six inches of water. In an instant, you and your family were overcome with the void left by her death. She was your best friend.

As you shared the story, it didn’t bother you one bit to let me see how much it hurt.

The honor in your walk was so very evident. You’d brought her spirit with you on pilgrimage. I could see it on your face, hear it in your voice. She was right there. Pilgrimage was mostly for her, not so much about you.

(Above: A short interview with Tim.)

A day later you placed few of your wife’s remains at Cruz Ferro, the place where, for a millenia, pilgrims have left the hurt of their burdens behind. I never saw you again, but thought of you often and prayed that some understanding would come, some wholeness might return.

Some time has passed now. The pain may be less painful. I doubt the wound is completely healed, nor that you honestly even have that desire. Whatever the result, I pray you have peace.

I’m thankful you’d share such a personal experience with a stranger who, much like you, seeks the meaning in it all. Our conversation that day was part of an ongoing process for me as well.

Be well, my friend. Keep walking the path.

A fellow seeker,

Steve Watkins

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