Last weekend I watched The Way, a movie about a father who walks El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, as he mourns the death of his son. For over a thousand years, people from all over the world have gone to Spain to take this five-week pilgrimage (also known as The Way of St. James). They arrive at the end dirty, tired and somehow transformed. As I watched the movie, I became committed to taking the journey myself.
As they travel "The Way," pilgrims carry a rock representing a sin they have committed. The rock weighs them down, just as our guilt hangs heavy in our hearts. As the pilgrims walk and get used to the extra weight, I imagine they forget about the rock and the impact it has. When they reach the highest point of the trail, the pilgrims release their rocks under the shadow of an iron cross. They leave their sins behind to walk the rest of the journey absolved, feeling physically and spiritually lighter.
How many rocks would I need to carry on my journey? I wondered. How weighted down am I by my rocks now? What would it feel like to simply put those rocks down? How would that impact my journey moving forward? Would I breathe easier? Step livelier? Climb higher?
As I think forward to my own El Camino, I wonder if I could embark without a rock. Could I find a way to live a lighter life right now? Could you? What sins, regrets or faults are weighing you down? How does that show up in your life?
Sometimes, that kind of burden shows up physically in extra weight or rounded shoulders. Sometimes it shows up as procrastination or paralyzation because we don't believe we are good enough. Sometimes it shows up as distancing ourselves from others through anger or righteousness so people can't see our real flaws.
What rocks are you carrying today and what will it take for you to put them down? What actions do you need to take to feel lighter? What do you need to let go of so you can be more free?
You don't need to take a month off of work and traverse 500 miles to lighten your load. You can release your burdens with every step you take.
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