My Cruz de Ferro reflection
Cruz de Ferro translates to iron cross. It is located at roughly 5,000 ft and for many on the journey a special place to reach. The cross is on a large mound of small rocks placed over many years by pilgrims representing letting something go or a blessing and reconnecting to the purpose of the journey. Most reach this height after walking about a month from St Jean Pied de Port, we reached it after 5 days. Chris has pointed out that we missed the month of conditioning they had when they did the full Camino 3 years ago.
My reflection actually began the day before when walking through the uphill section lined with crosses on our way to Rabanal. No matter who you go with, this journey is your journey. People are friendly, helpful, inquisitive but we all have only our legs and awareness to bring us forward. Even if one drops a pole there is no courteous spontaneous reach to bend down and grab it for you but everyone looking down at it assessing the situation. This is our life. We are all given tools to cope with the journey as best we can. We can assist each other, pray for each other, feel concern, but we cannot live another’s journey. We can’t protect each other from life. If we try, we only bring harm as we remove the struggle needed to learn and grow and thrive. The pain we feel in not being able to help is our pain to deal with.
My intention on the Way was to reflect on my service to those grieving loss, death, life changes and broken hearts. I listen, feel compassion, offer reflective questioning, witness, pray, encourage, laugh with, feel tears with, but I can’t fix or take away the pain. For the most part I feel good about what I can offer. At times I wish I could do more. In each of these encounters I also receive something, more life awareness, more awakening, more opening of heart, more opportunity for growth, gratitude for this work.
Walking past the crosses left by previous pilgrims I began to see and feel countless souls swirling around me. People I have encountered in some meaningful way whether I was aware of it or not. People who have died and people who are living but all people I have walked with and connected with on this life journey. This awareness followed me into the night and on through the morning’s journey to Cruz de Ferro. The feelings were of comfort, gratitude, peacefulness, inner smile with remembering, curiosity of souls I do not remember. At the cross, I offered a blessing to all these souls, wishing them well in life or in death as the case may be. As I left the cross I experienced a lightness as I am aware I will continue to move forward doing the work with an openness to where it takes me as this chapter with Hospice comes to a close. Individuals I meet on the Way offer me hints, visions of possibility. I need only stay open.