So today is Noelle York-Simmons second day on her new pilgrimage as the Rector of Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia. We miss her something awful, but ISN’T THIS THRILLING?? Here’s Barbara Pearson remembering the beginning of an earlier-this-summer pilgrimage with Noelle:
All Saints Camino Pilgrimage: First Day
Sherri and I paused outside our hotel, the others still inside getting ready. Sherri looked like a juggler tossing, rattling, and flipping colorful maps.“I cannot figure these out,” she said. “They’re in Spanish.”
“Well, let’s just go,” I replied, and so we did.
I suppose I thought my instinct would suffice. However, the image of an ancient pilgrim wearing a cloak and brimmed hat, and holding a staff, engraved in the sidewalk confirmed our decision. This must be the right way.
Sherri and I walked confidently in the opposite direction from our first Camino waymarker in Sarria, Spain.
BUT!! Two angels wearing blue shirts sat at the crossroads, smiling and pointing the way!
Quickly the angels began shouting to us in chopped Galician sentences. Then they met us in the center of the street to continue their explanation pointing up the street back to where we started. I understood rojo and gesturing to the left. We nodded and smiled. Gracias, gracias. We must walk toward the red house and then turn, I thought.
Sherri and I reversed our path and traveled back through Sarria and up the hill. Our new friends walked several paces ahead. A shopkeeper pushed open the awning over her café. They greeted her with pleasantries. I assumed this was their daily routine—a walk and good mornings. It was simply coincidental that we were going in the same direction, but I was wrong again.
The angels wearing blue shirts escorted us to our first yellow arrow, and with more words we didn’t understand, photographs and hugs, they sent us properly on our way.
Around this block, we know about angels in disguise. (There are a gazillion of them in Alexandria, Virginia as well.) Keep awake today and watch for angels on your pilgrimage. And, watch for your chances to befriend and be a trail angel for someone else as well. Noelle and Barbara and everybody, through the grace of Christ, we’ve got this. We really do.