(Note: Not only is Phil Volker a friend, he’s the subject of a great short award-winning documentary. You may read his story at philscamino.com)
As a great man once said, “Just acknowledging someone is a gift. Give a gift to everybody.”
It’s an esoteric bond we share, those of us who walk the ancient footpath. But a greater bond still amongst all who reject certain limits in search of greater truth. I recall the day your social media “friend request” appeared. “It can’t be,” I thought. “Is that the real Phil Volker?”
We’d heard the story that probed our imaginations. Annie O’Neil shared tidbits with the community along the way as this anticipated creative work developed. A man with stage-4 cancer replicated a camino is his back yard of all places, got better, then went to Spain and took a 500-mile victory lap on the Way of St. James. From the moment we heard about Phil’s Camino, you were a hero.
On word from our friend Roni Kay that you’d visit Arkansas’ Hot Springs Film Festival last October, we dropped everything. Getting there became top priority. Everything else could wait. It will always be one of the favorite days of my life. And since then you’ve often shared an encouraging personal word with a phone call, or social media comment, and you stop by the blog every day. Your acknowledgment is my gift.
A favorite writer once penned, “A story untold could be the one that kills you.”
You weren’t looking to create a tory, and certainly never imagined yourself hopping jets to and from film festivals around the country. The spotlight was the last thing on your mind. You simply took responsibility for the hand you were dealt. You didn’t choose a life. You lived one. Yet, we’re so glad your story is being told.
For many of us, you’ve become a great ambassador for hope. With intention, you’ve shown us there really are no limits to time, place or circumstance. You’ve shown us how we might capture a glimpse of heaven if we just pause and take a look around.
But your true legacy is one for sharing with everyone we know.
In difficult times, our priorities are easily transposed. You’ve shown us the difference between a cure and a healing. It’s the healing that reconciles us to the bigger picture. The cure is really secondary.
I’ve got one more line here Phil. Just one more line. I’ve got to get it right, and get it in there …
You’re a hero. I love you, my friend.
A fellow seeker on the Path,