I can’t quite describe when it happened, but there was a moment in the planning, preparation, and dreaming about making this pilgrimage that I began to realize that it wasn’t just a daydream, but that plans were being made, items bought, and plane tickets booked. I can’t exactly pinpoint when this moment hit me, but it might have been when my shell that I will tie to my backpack once I arrive in France and the little blue and yellow patch came in the mail with the note from the Etsy shop owner: “May your pilgrimage be what you hope and what God intends.”
I held the fragile shell in my hands and followed the groves of the thread of the patch as I turned over her prayer in my mind: may it be what I hope and what God intends. Maybe this isn’t exactly the moment that the planning began to feel real, but it was definitely a hinge moment for me. And like with most hinge moments in my life, I’ve anxiously avoided the tangible pieces as I begin to cling to false narratives about myself, my hopes, and even what God might intend for my life.
I set the shell and the patch aside and passed it for about two weeks, but yesterday the light clicked on connecting something that I have been wrestling with for a while. I’ve been busying myself with lists of things to do, but what I’ve been pushing off is to take time to sit in prayer with all of the big feelings the Camino is already bringing up in me. Last night, I passed it, and realized that it was the night.
It was the night to prayerfully weave the ancient image, not just of pilgrims along The Way, but of our shared Baptism. As I took some old thread that I happened to find and affix this symbol, I knew that it was not something for me to succeed or to fail at. It is perfectly, imperfectly attached, with plenty of mistakes and a lot of prayer. It also has a small smudge of blood, because I can’t remember the last time I hand sowed something and there were injuries.
No matter, though, because now my pack is adorned with the bright ancient symbol of my hopes and God’s intentions, every stitch a prayer.