In May of 2017, I waded into the Atlantic Ocean after walking across the Northern Spain for 36 days with 2 days of rest and after 800ish km or 500 miles. To be walking and discerning and in Spain for that long was a dream. It cultivated who I am today, reminded me of who I was and let me return to myself. My feet were blistered and pretty battered. They were tired but had more strength than I had ever imagined and I knew them better than I had ever imagined. My feet and I became inextricably linked. I took care of them every morning and after each day of walking. They were tender and I knew each part of them. They carried me through all sorts of terrain.
I also fell more in love with Spain as I stood in the ocean and let the salt water touch my tender blistered toes…just notice the blue tape. After that day in Spain, I walked 40 more km to Muxia on my own and returned to Santiago by bus for Pentecost. I went to mass with other pilgrims and let the flames settle on me and renew my spirit. I went back to the States but Spain had gotten into my blood. I had always loved Spain..the food, the language, the people but now I had a piece of my heart there.
I moved to Berlin to be with Ana this past May, a year later. Berlin is a great city full of good people and always something to do. I have been intensively learning German and finding people to hang out with. I volunteer at a refugee cafe and walk dogs. I write and read and travel. BUT so far Berlin hasn’t really felt like my place. The cultural differences are big for me and I truly miss Portland. When Ana and I dreamed of what we wanted our life to look like, we said we would return to Spain and to start off with for the month.
So here we are and I have written a bit about it and there is much more to write…about how much like home it feels to speak Spanish and how the food is incredible and you know about the sea.
Today I put my feet in the waters and reflected on how I have returned to Spain and again it is renewing to my being and my soul. It is still hard to be away from home but here I feel more like I belong even though the local folks probably still see me as not belonging as much as the next tourist. Being here for a month again, allows us to just be in some spaces. Yesterday we went to Granada for the day and packed it in but then today we could feel at peace coming back and just walking in the sea and working, writing, reading, doing laundry, grocery shopping, etc. It is as if Spain was waiting to have me return and learn and walk and be in this place. It feels warm and kind.
I was also reflecting today about how this place is letting me to return to some thoughts about walking with God. It isn’t as if God isn’t in Berlin. Of course God is but here I am next to the sea and walking into sacred spaces that are wide open. Yesterday I accidentally went to two masses in Granada just by walking in. I feel more at ease coming back into exploring what God is calling out in me. I haven’t really found those spaces in Berlin and my soul yearns for them.
Stay tuned for more of what is to come….