As grace would have it, last night in Granon was better than I could have imagined. I cooked with Pierre from Canada, who I thought was with the Hospital the way he “owned” the kitchen. It was only after we were sauteing onions and garlic for a makeshift spaghetti sauce that we each realized we were just pilgrims…pressed into service by Ana Rosa from Peru, Ana Elisa from Italy, Gwendolyn from hmm…somewhere, and sweet Jimena from Chile.
After a coffee with new friends Marianna from Brazil and Kathy from Australia, we all started cooking. When the work was almost done they asked me to sing a song (they’d heard I wrote). The refrain reads…
All I want to be today is close to you here on the way
A Santiago destiny, could this be my legacy
Soon sweet Jimena lovingly demanded that it be sung in Spanish. Minutes later, with much help from the Phillipe, the Italian, Leon and Anna, the Germans, and Marianna at the helm of the translation we sang;
Todo lo que quiero sel El Estar en el camino
Santiago es mi destino Caminar es mi legado
We had all 35 people singing the song to Jimena and the other volunteers who keep this place alive and never turn anyone away…which is why they call it a Hospital, not an Albergue.
And just when I thought we’d had the time of our life, which we had…Gwendolyn invited anyone who wanted to attend, to step into the church.
We ducked our heads and entered the choir loft, overlooking a simple, sacred, peace-filled sancturario. Gwendolyn led us through prayer, asked me to sing with their guitar….so I sang Ten Paz/Be Still.
We passed the light of peace one to the next, shared our hopes and fears, and ended with a sign of peace.
It was so simple. So powerful. A real United Nations. We prepared food. We ate. We cleaned. We prayed. We laid down on mats and slept.
35 hearts 35 souls 35 ways 35 souls
But for just one night we took flight in the presence of the Holy Ghost
All the faces here are grateful that they came
And I for one can say I’ll never be the same
These words, written today on Missy’s birthday, are part of a song I wrote between Granon and the next town.
Missy told me the Camino has something for everyone. It would have something for me. She told me that you can’t ask for what it is you want, that the Camino will offer what you need. She told me the Camino will change you if you allow it to.
The simplicity of last night was so simple, and so life-changing, and I’ll never be the same.