Pilgrim Graffiti Wisdom

IMG_0481Arrows were common on the Camino. Sometimes found on a stone marker, a sidewalk, road or wall, yellow arrows marked The Way from St. Jean to Santiago. As someone who finds themselves directionally challenged, I completely depended on them. My strategy was to follow an arrow, or follow a pilgrim. This was a very successful technique until I arrived in the larger cities where sometimes accomodations were off the beaten track. On those occasions, I was more than challenged and lost my way more than once. Not even GPS could help, as wifi was only available in restaurants, and technology is not my friend at the best of times. I envy my husband who has an innate sense of direction, born with a compass up his ass. He always knows which direction he’s facing, tells me it’s something about the sun… Luckily for me, the trail was well marked. An additional feature that blazed the trail was the graffiti left by previous sojourners. I enjoyed photographing the wisdom of others who had traversed this ancient pathway. This particular patch of wall is speaking to me now. It feels like my life has been pulled backwards a long way. In fact, I think the arrow got pulled so far back that it dropped out of the bow and fell to the ground… and got lost in the tall grass. However, the arrow is now back in the groove and I’m anticipating being “launched”. One thing I did to get through this difficult time was to set a target for myself. It needed to be a pretty substancial bullseye to get me out of my dark hole. Our farm supplies potatoes for Frito Lay Chips and in their effort to improve efficiencies, they often come up with clever motivational ideas to inspire their growers. So, to borrow from their concept, I needed to come up with a B-HAG – A BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL. I decided to train for a marathon, as long distance running has long been my therapy for mood regulation. Sometimes I have been able to outrun the black dogs of depression. Therefore, three weeks from now, I will be travelling to Rome to run the “All Roads Lead to Rome Marathon” on April 8. Having run several marathons, I guarantee that this one will not be my best time, not a Personal Best (PB). In fact, I am quite certain it will be a PW (Personal Worst). They will close the race at 7 hours, and I hope to be done before that. However, as far as I’m concerned, this B-HAG has already served its purpose. Training got me out of bed and gave me purpose until I could reengage in life, and for that I am thankful. It won’t be a great race, probably not even good, but it will be good enough. I am blessed to be accompanied to Rome by a good friend who has agreed to help me navigate my way. While “not all those who wander are lost” (Toilken), in my case, I usually am. So fortunate to have friends who have been there to walk beside.

 

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