“…So, what I have to do is to honor this pilgrimage through life…who’s constantly amazed by this journey. Who is learning a new thing every single day…I am this person who is proud to be a pilgrim, and who’s trying to honor his journey.”
– Paulo Coehlo
On my walk along the coast I met a young Italian woman at the start of her pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. I joined Sophie for an hour of her long walk talking about life, love and loss. Our conversation continued over lunch together. She’d decided to do the pilgrimage because her heart had been broken when her boyfriend of two years ended their relationship suddenly.
I reminded her she deserved the love of a good man who would stand by her. She deserved to be treated kindly by everyone in her life and setting boundaries was a good thing. That some people weren’t meant to be in our lives forever. I reminded her to believe in magic, miracles and magnificence. To go towards what made her feel most alive and to choose joy. To let go of fear and trust everything would be all right. All the things I wished someone had said to me when I was twenty-two-years old.
Twelve days later when Sophie was back in Porto we met for lunch. She said she thought of my words during her journey. She said she met a good man who walked The Way with her, who slowed down when her knees hurt, and treated her kindly. She said her heart was full knowing there was a bigger world out beyond loss. Her youthful enthusiasm touched me. I told her to take all she learned, all her joy, all she wanted to believe was possible back home with her.
She hugged me goodbye, leaning her head on my shoulder. After a bit I pulled away to end the hug, but she didn’t move. I leaned back in and remembered my own words. I deserved Sophie’s gratitude. I deserved to be treated kindly. I believed in magical moments like that one. I stayed right where I was until she was ready to end the hug.
As we walk side by side finding our way in the world, we only need to remember to lean into each other’s hearts. Then everything will be all right.