It’s so ironic how many of us strive for a life other than our own.
We imagine and convince ourselves to believe that if we were someone different, or had better things, that we would be a better version of ourselves. We go out searching for something greater than our ordinary life.
I remember this when I walked the Camino a few years ago.
I was so excited to begin my journey. I read the writings of many travelers who walked before me. I knew that it would be exhausting, and that my body would be pushed beyond its limit. But, I also knew that mentally I would be challenged to look at life a little differently.
In my years of leading pilgrimages, I’ve witnessed the transformation of people who’ve experienced the itineraries I put together. God tilled their souls and they returned home with a new outlook and more grace to live according to his will.
There have been pivotal moments in my life when I have experienced transformation, but with my prayer life I knew that God was not done showing me what I need to do. This journey on the Camino was calling me like a deep whisper through a forest of trees. I could feel it and desired the invitation.
When you walk the Camino, you can begin at so many different locations.
For hundreds of years, pilgrims travelled these roads, which all led to the tomb of St. James in Spain. This particular time I was beginning at the last stretch of the path, but despite its shortened length, it was not without challenges. The sun was shining bright, and I was hungry, thirsty and desiring rest for my feet. I was so exhausted and in my desperation for relief, I found quiet time with God, who could provide me what I needed.
I realized that all those desires I previously had to live a different life – a life I found in movies, magazines, books and culture – were not a life that God created for me. Sometimes when we desire something so much, without consulting him, we end up pushing him further away.
God desires for all of us to be saints, and we do that by growing in holiness as ordinary people.
St. Josemaria Escriva once said,
“Holiness is forged through a constant interplay of God’s grace and the correspondence of man.”
We are not born holy, but we grow in holiness by constantly working on it. Through a daily examen, prayer and charity, I can live the vocation and mission I was given and extend Christ’s love to others. When I get beat up and discouraged, or when I recognize I’ve gone off the path, it’s important to find my way back. Only Christ can lead me there.