I don’t get how this happens. After walking the Camino for two years in a row, it’s the thing I miss terribly right now. However, it seems to follow me. I feel it in my heart and see it in staring up into the sky after a long day behind my computer at work. And even though I am miles and miles away from the mystical road to Santiago de Compostela, it seems to still work its mysteries on me. The Way seems to still want to teach me in the whispers of my memories.

Listen to me, Frida.’ The professor put his arms carefully on the table which made the distance smaller between them. ‘Did you ever try to stop your husband, to not have him leave? Did you ever ask him to give up travelling and maybe start a practice in the city centre?’ ‘No, I never did. And now I regret it.’

‘Yes, and do you know you why you didn’t do that?’ the professor continued, ignoring the last sentence. ‘Because you knew all too well that he would have listened to you. He would have given up everything and from that moment onwards you should have learned to love someone different.’ 

These words are written by Fioly Bocca. I think in Italian. I am reading them in Dutch. Here I translated them loosely into my own words. But still, all the credits go to this novel about a young woman walking the Camino after breaking up with a man. She meets an older woman, Friday, who has lost her husband. Throughout the story, you read flashbacks into both love stories. The bit that got to me is about Frida meeting her late husband’s favourite professor.

I think one of my greatest lessons during both my Camino’s was to surrender. To let go. Those are very, very personal memories to me. I’d love to share them with you in person. But today I’d like to focus on the now. Even though I am not literally walking with a backpack and blistered feet on a dirt road somewhere in Galicia or in a meadow in Friesland, I still feel like I am on a pilgrimage. Learning to let go. Because trying to be in control. It’s one of my many weaknesses. Richard Rohr says:

Our greatest temptation is to try to change other people instead of ourselves.

Learning to let people go. To give them breathing space. To find their own roads to Santiago. Because the road I am walking might not be the same as the ones they are walking. The character in the book understood why it was so detrimental to let her husband go each and every time. Even though he ended up dying while saving lives as a medical doctor in Syria. Her heart knew that she couldn’t change him. Wouldn’t want to change him. For his sake.

I haven’t finished the book yet. I don’t know what the Camino to Santiago will do for her. Another pilgrim in the story points out that you’ll usually only find out why you walked the Camino after you have finished it. And that’s true if I look at my own experiences with this beautiful road.

Learning to let people go. I feel a bit brokenhearted. Yet I know that one day I will be made whole again. Maybe the broken heart, filled with just a tiny bit of pain, for now, will burst of joy, someday soon.

Letting go is always the starting point of receiving.

Open hands. Back to blog number 2. Why I started this whole crazy writing experience in the first place.

So maybe I’ll meet up with someone new along the road. Maybe I’ll meet up with tens of new people. New brothers, new sisters, new friends, new lovers. Maybe we’ll find out that our roads meet and intertwine with each other leading to unexpected new directions. Like A.A. Milne said through the character of Winnie the Pooh:

I knew when I met you an adventure was about to happen.