a month from now
“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Meister Eckhart
My back rested on the wall of the Arles Amphitheatre, and in front of me, 1,500 km of paths to snaking their way across France and Spain towards Santiago de Compostela. I do so love an adventure.
It all started two years earlier with a vegetable curry.
I was invited to a friend's house to have a meal, enjoy a bottle of wine and watch a film. As a lifelong vegetarian, he could conjure up a pretty tasty vegetable curry. After the meal, all mellow from the wine we settled in to watch The Way. It wasn’t a great film but there was one line ...
The main character, Tom is a rude American, who decides to walk the Camino. As he begins his journey a police officer gives him a stone
Tom, "What’s this, a good luck charm?"
PO "Something like that, you will know what to do when you get there."
Tom "Get where?"
PO "The Cruz de Ferro, it’s on the Camino … you’ll be there a month from now."
A month from now, a month. A whole month, it was like a seed had blown in on a warm spring breeze. That tiny seed found a safe place to hide.
Two years later, I was in a meeting with my boss and we agreed I needed to take my long-overdue sabbatical. I had been working with churches as a youth worker for over 14 years. It’s a brilliant job and I loved it but it’s two sides of a coin. You get to join in with all that’s bright and hopeful about humanity but you also get to know the darkness. The light burns up your energy, while the darkness smothers your soul. I had become a husk of a Christian, the outside was looked good but inside? Empty and deeply unhappy.
After the meeting, I went through an odd few weeks. I had plenty of savings and two whole months but frustratingly, no idea what I wanted to do. What should have been an inspiring once in a lifetime opportunity had become another task on my to-do list.
I slumped at my desk, eyes watching a little box bouncing around a black screen. I closed my eyes, leaned back in my chair, and said to no one “I give up”.
“You could walk the Camino”.
It was a whisper, in my head, but I “heard it” like a real voice, made with real lips and real breath. In a moment I was transformed, I was tingling with excitement. No self-generated enthusiasm needed here, oh no. I flew down the steps and burst in on my boss, “I want to walk the Camino”. He looked up and smiled, “I think that could work”.
And suddenly I knew, this was the time to start something new and trust to the magic of beginnings.