Sometimes I have an impression that a conspiracy was created against people. Everything becomes gray or black, dark, painful, menacing, serious, dangerous, critical, necessary, scary etc.
Politicians, priests, the media, ladies of #meToo, archbishops, sometimes our loved ones, all are deadly serious, because life is a matter of “life and death”. They all want us to be serious. “Do not dare!” – they seem to speak, to prevent us to take life lightly. “Beware! There are so terrible threats.”
When a man dives in a thousands or hundreds of kilometers of journey and the loneliness becomes his friend – which is sometimes (to be lonely) can be a little difficult on the Spanish camino – then all this seriousness of the world stays behind. It slowly goes out, blurs like the morning mist or previous day. Reality becomes real, pain in feet, hunger, the sun which burns the skin, but also joy, which is in a sip of water, seeing the mountains early morning, swimming in the ocean.
In this detachment from stern seriousness of everyday life, we meet people. I think that on Camino we meet people somehow “much more” than in everyday life. A strange thing, there’re so many people in daily life and sometimes we don’t meet each other at all. How is this possible?
Well, when we meet on camino, we eat salt with each other, everyone carries his own “cross” and somehow a smile appears. And it is hard to find a greater reason for joy than being with people. Simple, spontaneous contact without bias or assumptions. We are created for each other and we are created to experience joy, laughter, happiness.
I know that the bishop rarely talks jokes, the leaders … you know it, you’d better grit your teeth then smile freely. It’s just that the world and life, and the backpack with these clenched teeth attitude is getting heavier and heavier. The communities of hate, fears and sadness offered to us by the world are only more overwhelming.
That is why it’s sometimes worth going out. From this life, from these streets, from these repetitive patterns of behavior, to discover, experience and be affected by – the joy that comes from ordinary existence, from real contact with other people, from the simplest experiences. Joy of life, which is still and waiting in the voices of birds, in the noise of the wind, in the faces of those whom we meet on the road, in the smile of Saint. Jacob, who, from the high, looks at the Obradoiro Square from the cathedral in Santiago, again after hundreds of years, filled with crowds of pilgrims. What he sees on their faces and enjoys it the most, it’s just … their smile.
“Road” – my book about pilgrimage.