Day Seven. Love.
I awoke to a gloomy day of dark gray clouds and intermittent rain. Given the news in Florida, it matched my spirits a bit. It is all over the TV channels here, and although I can't understand the Spanish much, it's clear that the awful murders have affected the Spanish deeply.
I did my usual preparations to leave--gathered up my washed clothes from last night which were hanging all around the room, affixed blister prevention patches on my feet, and carefully packed everything for handy use during today's walk. Feeling terrible about Florida, I decided to keep the petition prayers people had given me--about 150--within easy reach, and as the rain ceased I took a few out every so often and read and prayed over them for extensive durations of the walk. Most of them were prayers for other people: members of family, or friends, or co-workers, or neighbors, or even for groups of people in need of help. One petition listed about 15 people who were suffering from all different kinds of issues-- cancer, loneliness, marital troubles, financial problems. That was the one that made me realize how loving all these petitioners were--the characteristic that identified them as from the same 'family'. The depth of compassion was so evident, and so was a humble acknowledgment that God's will was involved. I was deeply touched as I read the petitions, and I tried hard to get inside the hearts that wrote them.
I have discovered over the years of my life that there are a lot more good people in the world than bad, a lot more selflessness than selfishness. And there is a lot of pain. It is in the nature of loving people to deliberately share in that pain, and when they do, the world grows more divine. As I walked and read these little pieces of paper with scrawled writing, I sensed that the world's hatred and brokenness was being challenged with something much more powerful. It heartened me, and lessened the sadness that I had been feeling all morning from the horror in Orlando.
When I arrived at today's destination, Llanes, a lovely town beside the ocean, I had to wait for my room to be ready. I took a walk on a path behind the pension/hotel, which looked directly onto the ocean. It was windy, but the ocean gusts had blown the dark wet clouds to retreat to the nearby mountains. It was siesta time, around 4pm, when most everyone in the town was at home with their families. And so the path was deserted and I felt like I had the oceanfront to myself. I saw a round lookout point and climbed up to it to get a better view. And as I got my phone out and began to take a picture up there, this guy shows up out of nowhere, heading right towards me. In fact he even got into my picture. It was kind of lonely up there, and he didn't smile, and he clearly wasn't a tourist, and suddenly I felt a little afraid. What if he threw me off the cliff? Now I don't know why THAT came into my head--maybe it was just my natural New York danger-alert--but he suddenly nodded to me and then moved a little distance away. He appeared to be taking in the view, which is what I was doing and who wouldn't love the view, but still, if he lived here why would he be doing that now?
Anyway, I saw another higher vantage point on a neighboring hill, and I decided to go over there. He didn't follow me (whew!) and in fact he moved into the spot where I had been standing behind the round rock lookout, and perched himself up on it. I guess he really did just want to take in the view. At the higher spot I tried to take some pictures but nearly got blown off the hill into the ocean because the wind was so strong up there. When I descended back down towards the first lookout I saw my 'friend' wasn't alone anymore. In fact, he literally had his arms wrapped around a woman, and it wasn't just a friendly peck on the cheek. Of course I didn't approach them, but took a different path down. From below they were completely hidden from any peering eyes (including mine), and it suddenly occurred to me that this was a planned romantic meeting. And it was at siesta time. And I have a hunch that it was not the guy's wife. The sun came out at just the right moment, and once again the gorgeous shoreline heralded the beauty of the creation through which I was walking. I thought about what they were those two were seeking in their lives--and what we all are seeking.
Everyone wants to feel complete and fulfilled, and that is impossible without feeling loved. And so we all look for those people or that person who will demonstrate in a fainter way what we believers know (or hope) we already possess from our Creator. And of course we desire to give our love to fulfill others because love always seeks love. And sometimes our love is pure and sometimes it's not. So as I thought about the petitioners, and the couple at the lookout, I also remembered those people who died or were hurt at Pulse--they were and are our brothers and sisters. I also thought about the man whose hatred pulled the trigger. I believe that beneath his hatred is the same desire we all have--in fact, his actions stemmed from his inability to achieve it.
Perhaps that's what I'm seeking to understand on a deeper level through this walk--the source of all Love, the Fire beneath everything that makes us and all creation strive, however imperfectly, towards it.
Love to you all.