Morning in Viano do Castelo before breakfast and my days walk to Vila Praia de Ancora
Trust is a word that is liberally spoken but rarely extended. So it goes with matters of faith, marriage and relationships. All of us have been hurt when trust given is abused. I have come to covet mine and am judicious in whom I place it. I have always considered myself a man of faith, but it’s really since I attended a Christ Renews His Parish retreat at our church that my trust in the Lord has been both renewed and intensified. Catherine has a slogan taped to her bathroom mirror that says “Look up and Believe”. Amen honey.
So as I departed my inn today I had my walking notes provided from Camino Ways instructing me to take an inland route that ran parallel to the sea. It did provide for the coastal route but cautioned that it was not well marked. So after considering my options, I chose the inland route because I had traversed the sea the first 2 days and I live less than 200 yards from the ocean at home. As I type this update, I’m glad I opted to take the route I did because it provided the nonstop beauty and desired solitude. But with that choice came the tradeoff of walking 15-17 miles on cobblestone streets/paths…beautiful to look at, but oh so painful to the feet. Still, that’s what they make Aleve for, right?
As I set out on my journey today my prayers were dedicated to my siblings…all 10 of them. That’s not a typo folks. I have 7 brothers and 3 sisters. Growing up in that dynamic was both interesting and trying. As you might expect, most were closer to the sibling ‘bundle’ immediately surrounding them. Sort of like 4 pods of 3. I was 4th in that chain of 11 and often wonder how my personality and skill set were shaped by that placement in the family chain. In order to maintain some sense of control in a large family, order and rules have to be clear and abided by…otherwise anarchy loomed. Our Dad was a proverbial ‘command & control’ guy and Mom was the loving, empathetic counterbalance. Considering we all have/had jobs and no one is in the slammer, you’d have to say this parenting (management?) style was reasonably effective. Most of us that got away from our home at age 18 went on to carve their own path and establish some of the one thing we were devoid of growing up…CONTROL. This had all been just dandy until M&D got old and sick. The inevitable passage of time we all have to look forward to, where living wills and powers of attorney are crafted with children chosen to take on appointed roles. Turns out my Dad asked me to be both his and Mom’s POA when that time came. I lovingly and dutifully agreed, even though I live 180 mile round trip from them now.
Both our parents are incapacitated now and my duties have been in play for some 2 years, and while much of this work is emotional and challenging, it becomes more so when all the siblings don’t pull the rope in the same direction. That has sadly been the case and the infighting has taken it’s toll on certain relationships, so today my rosary and prayers were on patching these wounds so that our parents can pass in peace. We all love our folks and none of their care is about ‘us’…it’s about THEM. If we could all just bury the hatchet and find common ground on THEIR behalf, the angels would be singing in Heaven. Lord, give me the strength to turn the other cheek and relinquish control to others, even when I don’t think it’s warranted. As our dear friend Carole Renner often reminds Catherine and me, it’s “not about being right; it’s about relationship”. Very wise advice.
So I went down each siblings name and said a special prayer for each, asking that they find happiness and faith in their salvation. That’s really all Mom & Dad would want for any of us…not wealth or fame…just entry to Heaven. Funny, that’s the exact thing Catherine & I want for our 3 children and their partners too.
Until tomorrow when I cross the River Mino for A Guarda and Spain, may the good Lord bless you and your families. Bom Caminho peregrinos.
It’s this way!
Or maybe not!
An outdoor pool with a garden and view of the sea…life is good!
Crossing the rail line on my way to town
This is the perfect spot for a rest and a snack. Man that beard is getting whiter every year!
An ivy covered stone wall. Unfathomable how many hundreds of miles of these walls and cobblestone paths there are in these small towns. There is no way to reproduce these or find the skilled labor to construct them. The Roman influence is undeniable.
One of the many old, but sadly unattended and locked, churches you pass along the way.
Always a pleasant surprise to stumble on a running brook…such a peaceful sound.
The colors of the plants in bloom is almost surreal. Thank you Lord for the light show.
I took this picture of the kitty relaxing on his front porch because it reminded me of our cats back in Richmond, VA on our wrap around porch. I know my family will love this.
Approaching Vila Praia de Ancora after a looong walk…what a happy sighting!
Rows of wind turbines along the mountaintops.
One of the many sensational views I had along my walk today.
Portugal really is stunningly beautiful.
More wind turbines…
They were actually turning today…which isn’t a guarantee.
Flowers in bloom…amazing.
This reminded me of the country setting in Virginia where we raised our family.
A lone lily sprouting from a roadside.
Look at the clarity of this stream water…
A late afternoon ‘pick me up’. It was, well…bueno!