(Originally posted on 29 August 2016)
In the medieval times, pilgrims walked way more than we could ever imagine. 30 or 40 miles per day, everyday, was the average. Back then, they had no backpack, very limited sources of water, and the path to Santiago was not marked on the ground like it is today. The only support system they each had consisted of: a stick to defend themselves from animals, a little fiask to hold the water and a book of prayers to comfort themselves during the moments of difficulty. If this is not enough, some of them carried heavy stones with them in order to participate in the building of Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral.
Yes, those were the medieval times, but till this day, a lot of people are making miracles on the Camino every single day. I have personally seen blind men, women on wheelchair, a man on prosthesis because he lost his legs in war, and a Korean man doing the entire path barefoot. The stones, thorns and asphalt are burning his feet. He could barely walk.
“You are brave,” I said to him.
“I am not brave. I am Christian,” he replied.
And the Camino is not like hopping on a flight to Lourdes, Jerusalem or other spiritual places. This is hard stuff. Really. You have uphills, downhills, dirt track and every possible obstacles to make the path exceedingly harder, even for a young man. Sometimes I look at some of my fellow pilgrims like him, and I really cannot believe my eyes. On the one hand, I feel motivated by their exceptional tenacity and I feel trivial, comparing myself to them, on the other.
Things like this do not just happen on the Camino. You have the Chinese father doing 18 miles everyday to carry his disabled son to school , the African mothers walking for miles just to carry water to their sons , and the Tibetan pilgrims prostrating themselves every three steps in the long walk to Mount Kailash in order to find their inner humbleness and gratefulness.
Miracles are everywhere. And most of these heroes are unknown.
The fact that you don’t know about them doesn’t mean that they do not exist.
They just remain unknown.