Day 62: Kathy McLeskey

 

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Dear Kathy,

For the longest, I scoffed at notions of Camino Magic. I was wrong. You’re a slice of Camino Magic if I’ve ever seen one.

Happy birthday, my pilgrim friend. I wish you the happiest of days.

At the heart of everything I’ve learned about life are two simple things: (1) everyone needs a cheerleader; and (2) we’re all at our very best when we’re cheering for others. It’s my good fortune to share both experiences with you.

As much as I’ve tried, words may never adequately describe my initial desire to walk the Way of St. James, or to convey the experience itself. If it’s not possible, that’s okay. Perhaps the best stories are the ones that remain forever in the privacy of our hearts.

Dana and I, meeting our friend Kathy McKleskey in Santiago de Compostela last November. We'd been social media friends for a year, but this was our first time to meet personally ... of all places.

Dana and I, meeting our friend Kathy McLeskey in Santiago de Compostela last November. We’d been social media friends for a year, but this was our first time to meet personally … of all places.

A handful of people gave me special encouragement from a distance during those 40 days on the Way. There is no feeling as the one when you know people are in your corner and have your back. The encouragement you offered every single day was a part of my journey.  Thank you for “walking” those steps with me. Your words brought comfort, peace, and purpose. They really did.

Who knew a year later, you’d be on your own walk across the Way? If there’s anything close to the thrill of pilgrimage, it’s the opportunity to follow other pilgrims as they make their own journey. As you had cheered me, I now got to cheer you – not as any payback or obligation, but because it’s what we do. It’s our desire. You’re one of those pilgrims who “gets it.”  Words can’t really define that, but you know what I mean. You made us proud every single day on your journey. You showed courage, determination, compassion, and understanding.

And who would have ever believed we’d come back a year later and be in Santiago de Compostela at the same place and the same time? I wouldn’t have dreamed it in a million years.

But that’s Camino Magic isn’t it? We’ve lived it for sure. Birthday blessings to you, my pilgrim friend.

Stay on the Path.

Your cheerleader,

Steve “High Roller” Watkins

 

 

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