A woman at the tourist office in Leon gave me the address of a student residence near the cathedral run by Trinitarian nuns.
Sister Patricia from Kenya, who speaks fluent Spanish, greeted me and led me to my very own room with my own bath, a real luxury on the Camino unless you want to pay for a hotel room.
Sister Patricia advised me to do everything slowly so that when I arrive in Santiago I’ll remember the joys of the way: fellow pilgrims, friendships, nature, and the peace of walking.
When she found out that I’m a mother, she said she would pray that my sons heed the advice of their mother and that they wait to marry a good woman who will cherish them. Her prayers brought tears to my eyes.
My conversation with Sister Patricia was the second time in one day that my heart was touched. Outside the cathedral, by coincidence I met up with my Dutch friend Andre again. He said, “First a prayer, then a cigarette and coffee.” He’s a tall, thin man with stark white hair, an older gentleman who happens to be a poet and a performing artist in the Netherlands.
When we were at the outdoor cafe, he sang a song for me, “You Never Walk Alone.” The song is about the beauty of nature and the joy of communion with the divine, that this communion is why we are never alone. I’ve felt alone sometimes on the Camino, especially when I’m in a city like Leon with no companions, and his song touched me so that tears welled.
He wrote me an email later saying that “Tears are the pearls of life. When you are able to shed and share them, you are wealthy.”
I am traveling alone on the Camino, but I am not alone. When we need love, somehow love finds us, but only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.