Summer Camino day 5 > excerpt 3

“….. The Benedictine Cloister in León was our albergue for the night and after the usual ablution routine, including preparing the bed for the night, I searched unsuccessfully for a new camera and a cell phone. It appears these were more easily obtainable in the newer parts of the city, but, as it was Saturday shops closed early.
At midday the temperature was 34°C and I cooled down in the cathedral of León, a most beautiful Gothic church with enormous stained glass windows reaching up to the arched ceilings. They were so high and wide that I could not find a position from which to have an all-encompassing view of these magnificent structures. One wonders how the narrow masonry columns between the windows are able to support the roof – they are extremely slender and graceful; very unusual for a large building of this kind.
Incidentally, Anna was right when she proclaimed that as a pilgrim one should not take an easy and comfortable shortcut whenever an opportunity presents itself; I was rewarded with great satisfaction for resisting the temptation to use the bus service, even though I could have had quite a good reason not to walk, as my right leg was badly swollen at the ankle and above. Some other pilgrims, however, were much worse off. A young woman was limping with a strap around her knee and a middle-aged woman must have had a shoe full of blisters – she could hardly put down her foot. Neither had taken the bus. Thank you, Anna, for setting me on the right path!
Suffering is part of life; we all suffer at some time or the other, be it mentally, emotionally or physically. But on the Camino, despite developing blisters, unpleasant knee problems or some other physical malaise, most pilgrims appear to be blessed and happy.
Real life is no different. Probably most of us are healthy and active and free from physical restrictions, others have been dealt a raw deal without in any way deserving this. They may have physical impairments, possibly from birth, or caused by illness or accidents or in some other way and they have to live with these condition and the consequences for the rest of their lives. They must surely envy those more fortunate, healthy and mobile.
Under these circumstances it is even more important to develop and maintain positive mind-sets. Those suffering from physical illnesses might not be able to fully participate in our daily activities; they may be restricted in one way or the other, and they may even hinder others, or be a burden to those close to them, however, it is remarkable to experience that those who are afflicted in this way often have a strong character and are spirited people. It is probably through acceptance of their fate that they can maintain a positive outlook…..”

Posted in Blog, Summer Walk permalink

About Dieter Daehnke

Born in 1941 in Gdansk, Poland. In March 1945 the family fled the Russian army. Met my wife Uta in Hamburg and as she is South African, I followed her home. We live in Cape Town, have 3 children, and 2 wonderful grandchildren. I established an Engineering company and since its sale, I enjoy walking Caminos. I have recently completed my book 'Journey of a Stickman'.

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