My neighbor, Mary Francine, a woman in her late 70’s, stood in the street in front of her garden yesterday morning as I trekked my way past her. She looked at me peculiar…and rightly so, with full backpack, trekking poles, hat, etc. I said “Good morning” and she smiled back “And good morning to you! Where are you going?” I explained I was training for the Camino.
As soon as she heard that word, she smiled knowingly. Her face lit up yet carried a touch of longing as she said “Well, I don’t think I’ll make it at my age, so carry my prayers with you, won’t you?” Who could refuse that?
A few friends have asked if they could “drop off prayers”, presumably on paper, for me to bring to the Camino. The more I’ve said “YES” the more I wonder where I’ll put them! I was determined to have a 15 pound backpack fully loaded. I’m at 23 pounds so far. I walked for approximately 6 miles yesterday weighted down with worry about where I’d pack prayers, where I’d pray them, drop them off, how I’d place them along The Way.
I thought I’d have some silent me-and-my-thoughts time as I walked yesterday; time to ponder what the Spirit had for me. And for most of the 6 miles I was consumed with how to honor Mary Francine and many others.
Then it hit me (yes, I’m slow some days)…what God had for me was the very thing I let weigh me down. And in that moment, I was lifted up. There was nothing to hold, to pack, to plan for, to schedule. No fancy prayer service needed to honor her request.I realized that my prayer began when she asked.
Isn’t that The Way? When someone asks for your prayers, do you wait? Do you schedule it? Do you only give it a certain form or time slot? I have done all of these. How silly and perhaps foolish.
The truth is, it’s a privilege to pray for Mary Francine. And it’s a privilege to pray for you. If all I do on the Camino is walk and pray, that will be enough!
Send your prayers here and I’ll both carry them and be lifted by them on The Way.