Friday, December 20, 2002

Must Begin With A Single Step

February 2001

It started like this. I was babysitting the books at the town library one afternoon and it was so slow I picked up a magazine to read. In the magazine was an article about Shirley MacLaine. In this article Ms. MacLaine talked about her pilgrimage to Santiago, the Camino, and the book she had written about her experiences. I was reading this with detached interest when I turned to the second page of the article and glanced down at the bottom of the page. There was a map of Spain with the Pilgrimage route marked on it. The moment I saw this map, the world around me seem to pause, and I felt myself surrounded in a cocoon of stillness. I thought, "I know this.", which made no sense because I had never heard of the Pilgrimage or of the Camino nor had I seen a map of the route until a second before. The next instant I thought, "I'm going to do this.", and then I realized that the stillness I was feeling wasn't around me but inside me. It was a feeling of calmness and peace like I had never experienced before. I felt as if a door had opened, a door that I had been waiting to open, and that I was being invited to come inside.

I slammed that door shut so hard and fast, the sound of it still reverberates in my head today. I was frightened. The idea of going to Spain was ludicrous. There was no way I was going to run off to Spain. The idea was ridiculous. Why would I do this? I'm not a religious person.It was insane. Normal people do not run off to Spain to walk across it.It was unthinkable. I was not that spiritual a person.
It was undoable. There was no way I could afford to do this.

So, I tried to ignore the whole thing, but the idea was like a pot of chili simmering away on the stove in the kitchen. No matter where you are in the house, you can smell the fragrance of the chili cooking.