May 18, 2013 this happened a few days ago…..
I actually felt afraid of a town we would be hiking thru. I spent two days planning how to pass through this town but not have to stop and stay the night at the Alburgee. My fear? Slightly illogical and somehow grounded in old story, old wounds.
The town called Santo Domingo, named after Saint Dominic (a saint who now I have great respect for). This town has a story that dates back centuries. According to my pilgrim’s guide by John Brierly (I found a similar story in the Church) it is told like this: Legend has it that a pilgrim couple and their son stopped at an Inn here (Santo Domingo) on their way to Santiago. The pretty innkeepers daughter had an eye on the handsome lad, but the devout young fellow thwarted her advances. Incensed by his refusal she hid a silver goblet in his backpack and reported him for stealing it. The innocent lad was caught and condemned to hang. Some accounts suggest that the parents continued on their way, oblivious of the fate of their son and on their return from Santiago they found him still hanging in the gallows but miraculously still alive thanks to the intervention of Santo Domingo. They rushed to the Sheriffs house and found him just about to tuck into dinner. Upon hearing the news, he retorted that their son was no more alive than the cock and hen he was about to eat, whereupon the fowl stood up on the dish and crowed loudly. The miracle was not lost to the sheriff who rushed back to the gallows and cut down the poor lad, who was given a full pardon.
This story is so popular, a cock and hen live inside the church to this day…..
So why the fear? I was literally afraid of being jinxed in some way. I was afraid the young girl who made the advances would put a silver cup in my pack. I was afraid of the abandonment of my parents or is it community? I was afraid of deep hurts that if I could put one word to it, I would perhaps call it………..maybe, betrayal? I the boy hanging in the gallows, but really the felling is more like a person who has somehow fallen from grace. A person who has fallen and has yet to experience redemption. I am not alone in this kind of pain but my hope is to release it before this life time.
To make something right is to acknowledge our wrongs from both parties. Peacemaking is not a one way path. So how do we transform pain that we cannot expect another party who has done serious damage in this case myself and family to own up to their stuff enough to realize that an apology would be nice? (Is this the redemption I would like? Do I really need to be seen with “clear eyes”? I think a few years ago this is what I needed. I needed lots of help to transform anger that sometimes still lingers like a few coals in a fire.
So…….here in Santo Domingo we had planned to hike through quickly. Daisy was exhausted and her foot hurting and wanted to stay at the Alburgue We passed our friends who were camped out at the door of the Alburgue waiting for it to open, and we stopped briefly as I told Daisy we were going to push on to the next Alburgue 4.5 kilometers away. She got an ice cream cone and I a juice and we parked on a bench in the sun to enjoy our treats that would get us a bit further down the road. Suddenly a puppet show begins in the town square, a brass band marches by wearing cream orange colored shirts with flowers all over it and I realized I was defeated. When in Spain would you pass up festivities and a marching band? Ok! ok! Ok! We will stay. We went back to the Alburgue. Daisy got in the shower and I took myself to the church. A ritual I thought I might do…… The church is busy and so I begin to write in my journal at the feet of Saint Dominic’s tomb. Dear Saint Dominic I write to you asking for help in dealing with an old festering wound that in some way has taken a piece of my life, a piece of soul life of my family in a way that the feeling is that I have fallen from grace. I am tired of swimming upstream and I grieve the lack of vision as to how to abundantly and clearly move forward inside our family lives, our communities and ………..I write for two hours alone with people passing by, my heart in my hands (writing) and tears on my sleeves. Done, I close my book. Not to be read, but to be left alone and to move forward as I/ we/ our family has through these years.
“The holiest of all spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love….” A course in Miracles
My question as a pilgrim is will I walk with a forgiving heart or will I walk holding on to the hurts that keep me separated from my fellow pilgrims? What is the sacred symbol of healing? If presented, will I receive it and use it?
I remember when I first learned about The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage about four years ago. I wanted to be here as a way to heal but my pilgrimage began by staying put. We chose not to run or hide but to deal with the pain day by day until we could find what I would call family renewal at least to a degree… When the time came to walk this most amaizing pilgrim walk with Daisy, this wound was not exactly on the main thought. I came with the prayer of how to step into flow. Financial flow, life/ social flow, bring our gifts back into the world and having them be received flow. Health, children emotional well being. Allowing Daisy to find herself and birth herself in an environment that supports Daisy to think for herself rather than the power of her school, teacher, peer scene who may only see a part of who Daisy is and yet seams to wield a lot of power in the lives and spiritual lives of our children in ways that I strongly question.
……so here we are in Santo Domingo. I continue to learn more and more about this Saint who was not allowed to be part of the catholic church because he could not read. Yet Saint Dominic had apprentices, built churches, supported the pilgrim path as did most saints who could not read. In fact the Catholic Church adopted the pilgrimage because they began to see the lucrative nature of the Camino de Santiago. Pilgrims traveled on the easiest northern route across Spain ( the route we are on) and connected with places in Portugal, France England, Germany, Holland, Belgium etc. a pilgrim highway essentially established by amaizing healers, miracle workers, stone masons, spiritual leaders, but who could not read. Later they were all sainted.
I have come to like Saint Dominic. A healer, spiritual leader, strategist, teacher, a devout protector of the Santiago de compestella a pilgrimage. (There is more- but I will leave it at this).
I stayed in Santo Domingo and I was not betrayed. Instead, I prayed, enjoyed the Morris dancing, maypoles, brass bands, holiday festivities as the entire first two weeks of may are ” May Day” in these midevil towns across northern Spain.
Blessings and Aloha- the breath of spirit in us all,