Some musings on The Way…..
I wrote this on our 25th wedding anniversary….
Although obviously the photograph was not taken until some years later.
In fact this is a copy of the back of the order of service for Bernard’s funeral. The sentiments never for one moment, over all the years we were together, altered, indeed they become stronger and more pertinent year by year. It occurs to me that is one of the big lessons that most of we Pilgrims learn. I would alter the words “to be happily married” to “to walk the Way” for the Camino. For that is how I have walked the Way, I have been cherished and cared for by complete strangers, I have been trusted and in turn trusted others. Of course, the Camino is not just the track we walk along, nor the weather, good or bad that we walk through day after day. It’s the people that we meet, fellow pilgrims that wish you only well, the hosts that supply us with beds and food, from the simplest of places to rather grand hotels, all, without exception, see only the good in us, and we in them. It is an honour for each of us to help one another. Surely this really is the Way, not just The Way to Santiago but the Way to live our lives…..
If we looked after each other the way we would a little child, with patience, kindness and unconditional love, then how good would it feel to get up in the morning knowing that’s what will be coming our way, and to know our purpose for that day; to give and receive in equal measure.
Of course, in an ideal world this is how it would be, but we all know that there are takers as well as givers. But that fact does not stop us from being givers, courtesy and a smile are definitely infectious. If only we could distinguish between what we need and what we want…..
Everybody’s “Way” is different, what is right for one is wrong for another. We all walk different ways but we are still on that same path, that same journey through life, and ultimately we shall come to the end of the known journey and step into the unknown. In other words, once we have walked our Way, we shall come to the end of our lives. We need at that point to be able to look back and see how much we have given and how much we have taken. Our sadness or happiness over the years will be a good indication on how the give and take add up. “For it is in giving that we receive”……
Many of us will have grown up with the feeling that we were somehow not good enough, that we should have tried harder, that others were somehow better people, maybe they were cleverer than us, or more talented. Maybe they were better looking, more articulate, or maybe they were just born into a more wealthy family…..
Many of us have been hurt, mentally, physically, emotionally, many of us would like the luxury of blaming another for the pain we feel inside us……
On my notice board at home in big bold letters is this “I am not what happened to me, I am who I chose to be”
And suck on my desktop “The ugliest truth is still better than the prettiest lie”.
It is so much easier to see the negative rather than positive, to see the rain and not the sunshine. It’s easy to remember the times in our lives when we have been mean to others, when we could have helped, but didn’t, when we have lied in order to save face, the list goes on, but we know in our heart that we must forgive others the pain they have caused us, it’s somewhat harder to forgive ourselves….
To each and every person I meet along the way and to those that are left at home, I wish you hope, peace, joy and the courage to reach out…….
And back to grief…..
No one can know how the loss of a loved one will effect them, no matter how much time we have had to ‘be prepared’ or how sudden a death can be. Sadly we have to experience it to even begin to understand it. We will all deal with it in a different way, in my opinion there are no set stages of mourning. I do know that one becomes terrifically vulnerable, that ones mind, although numb, hops from one thing to another. I was embarrassed to cry and embarrassed to laugh. I kept thinking that there must be an answer if only I could find it. One thing for sure, I was not kind to myself, I expected so much of myself; after all I had been the strong one throughout the many years of my husband’s illness, why was I not strong now? I think because so much of my strength came from him……
Others will feel anger and desertion. Because these were not my feelings it doesn’t mean it’s wrong or in any way odd to feel them. There is no guide book on grief, there is no set time to grieve; just as every relationship is different ever parting is different
So today I will add another word…..
May you have, hope, peace, joy, courage and CONFIDENCE
It has taken courage for me to write this – to open up my soul, and I have the confidence to know that my words will be embraced with love…….
Love Susan x