Friday, March 9, 2012

A Pilgrim’s Perspective By Jenn Ambrose

My awesome Camino friend Jenn was recently published in
I've mentioned Jenn in a previous post Will you walk with me to the ends of the earth . I hope you love this article as much as I do...

A Pilgrim’s Perspective By Jenn Ambrose

The night before I leave for Roncesvalles, I am furiously typing to my best friend: “What if it’s just a walk? What if there isn’t anything more? What if I’m trying to make meaning, and there really isn’t any?”

After four and a half long years of college I had become jaded and stuck in the world of conceptual rhetoric that comes with the ivory tower of higher education. I needed exposure to the tangible and the real, a lesson in existential geography where my learning was based in relationships instead of study guides. So, I fell victim to the same serendipity that has brought many pilgrims to the Camino de Santiago.

I had an incredible 30 days of walking 400 miles of the Camino. I found a rhythm that brought my feet to the path hours before I would have even questioned if I wanted to get out of bed that day. I met people who seemed to arrive in my life exactly when I needed them to, challenging and altering my perspectives of achievement and value. Every day, autumn leaves in the resting vineyards of La Rioja and the enchanted forests of Galicia would whisper of change and beauty.

I reached Santiago in a state of gratitude and elation that was to be expected; yet I had no sense of completion. The cathedral was beautiful, but I continued west. For three more days I walked, and at the sight of the ocean, I suddenly felt like I had walked a long way. I was overcome with something I will never attempt to explain, and wrote this:

I reach a crest and see the end of my pilgrimage. It is not a construction of man whose importance or glory has to be taught from an early age and constantly reminded by images, books, or lectures; no, it is a place whose glory is so immense that it cannot be captured in images, books, or lectures, even when we try. Meaning does exist. And we attempt to explain it with words. When our metaphor of language fails to communicate meaning, it is not that meaning doesn’t exist. It’s that our language is inadequate. 

The Camino gives space for a visceral voice to arise, one that is usually clouded by thoughts. May we all seek a truth and meaning that is grounded in our experiences. Buen Camino.✦

For the full publication click here

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