Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

November 2012

“How did this trip change your life?” friends asked. At first, I didn’t know how to answer; now, I do. I believe our lives are changed every time we step out of our daily routine—even if that change is so subtlethat we can’t articulate it.

I saw no burning bushes on the Camino de Santiago in Spain this September, but I did experience intense moments of awe, joy, peace, and gratitude. Here are three of those snapshots that I’ll never forget:

Snapshot One: I met a Presbyterian pastor named Mel (short for Melanie) Rogers. Like me, she was a fast walker, and for more than one hundred kilometers we walked sharing our lives, beliefs, doubts, fears, joys and a wicked sense of humor. Much of the scenery along the Camino de Santiago is breathtaking, but it was the gratitude for the special bond we shared that truly took my breath away.

Snapshot Two: Mel and I were almost always the first of our group to arrive at the day’s destination. On the final five-kilometer walk into Santiago, I very intentionally brought up the rear. I’m not sure why this was so important to me, but the experience was powerful.

Snapshot Three: We arrived in Santiago on Thursday, October 4. At noon, we joined more than one thousand pilgrims from all over the world in the beautiful baroque Cathedral for mass. I felt chills—or what I call “God bumps. I now know understand what it means when we say, “We are all one.”