We left Lugo the morning of September 15 last year. As Fall begins, September in Europe is beautiful but unpredictable. That morning the sky was dark and gray and we got some rain. We actually got rain most days, but every day the sky would pour down while we were sitting at a bar having breakfast, or after we had reached our destination, or as we were taking a break under a shelter. Thus, while we enjoyed the cool air the rain would leave behind, we never got soaked; our feet were kept warm and dry as we kept walking. It is a small detail; yet, within it, I experienced Providence.
And experiencing Providence was a treasure I brought home from Santiago.
When I wake up in the morning and go about my day, I am often too busy or distracted to see Providence at work. I have a schedule, I have tasks, places to go, people to see, and then grocery shopping, and cooking, and cleaning… I want to get it all done. But walking the way to Santiago is pretty different. You wake up in the morning and the only thing you have to do is walk. Walking for 10, 15, or 20 miles. That’s it. All day long. For a few days in a row. Whether it is just you, or you are walking with friends, it does not really matter. Because what you have to do does not really change.
And so it happens that I had time to breathe, and look, and think. It happened that I lived my days without a plan, without tasks or deadlines pressuring me. Life became simple, and I finally saw.
And the first thing that I saw is that everything I needed was taken care of before I even knew I needed it.
I saw that every time we stopped and got shelter, the rain would pour and when we got back on the road, it would just calm down. I saw that every time we came across a stray dog – which happened too many times considering I am really scared of dogs – we would meet someone and walk with them that part of the trail. I saw that whenever I became exhausted, we would reach a small town where we could sit, eat, and drink something.
That is, I saw Providence working, I saw its “concrete and immediate” solicitude, as the Catechism reads; I saw that “God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history.”
And now I cannot but keep my eyes open, to see it time and time again; I want to see – every day – that I am taken care of, that is, that I am loved and cherished. Because it is only from there that life can become simple again and joy and peace be my companions.