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  • gregferrara

Trust in God

Today started with a blessing. My roommate (Roland) at the beautiful albergue we stayed at bought out the remaining two beds in our room. He had been dealing with large dorm style alburgues and snoring competitions for a few days, so to him it was worth the extra cost.


As I was checking out, the hospilatero and I struggled because I don't speak Spanish. We managed over the cell phone's translate app. I chipped in some extra money to relive some burden off of Roland.


As I was putting my pack on, she offered me a coffee (cafe), I politely declined. She motioned that it would be on her cost, and I could see that she was trying to be kind, maybe to return my generosity to Roland. She emphasized "Muy frio", and motioned outside (indicating how cold it was). Either way, I agreed and sat down at the counter. She poured me a beautiful cafe con leche, and then surprised me with a warmed up slice of marble cake, my favorite!


I savored the treat, thanked her very much, and set out into the misty, 34 degree morning. As I walked along, my feet and body felt amazing. I attribute this directly to all the prayers being said for me as I travel. As I walked through the misty morning through lush pastures, the 23rd psalm came to mind. I kept trying to remember all the words to pray this beautiful scripture, and couldn't string the sentences together correctly. Then I had the presence of mind to sing it, and the words came back very naturally. My friend Sarah Hart wrote a beautiful setting of it that you can listen to HERE. I may have still gotten the lines a little jumbled, but I was able to stay in the spirit of what I was singing.


After a short period, I happened upon Willard and Barb, a couple from Santa Rosa I met in a cafe on Tuesday. We walked together for a few kilometers and realized with have a mutual connection to my friend Michael John Poirier, a Catholic musician that we hosted at Holy Trinity several years back! We enjoyed talking about the relationship we each have with the Poiriers, and after a period of time, we pulled over for a break. Feeling the need to keep moving, we exchanged contact info and I drank about a half liter of water before setting back out.


There was "an event" shortly thereafter that started a long day of me trusting in God. I'll leave this as a placeholder for now.


After a short cafe stop for me, I walked through Triacastela with newly now sore feet. I've put my trust in God for the day, and came up to the end of the city where there is a main route (12km), or an optional route (18km) to follow.


Being a brilliant pilgrim, I don't review my guidebook and turn right for the shorter (and implied easier) route. I walk about 2km down a lovely farm road, pass by some cows and a running stream. Beautiful.


A kilometer later I cross back over that stream and see the ascent out of the farm town. It's uphill, it's legit. It's worth mentioning at this point that I've seen no one walking this main route. I laugh at the challenge of yet another crazy ascent and get to work up the hill which has now changed from a brick style road to a muddy farm path.


I observe a horse across the creek climb a remarkably steep embankment. I'm impressed and keep climbing. Then I keep climbing. Finally I pop out on an empty mountain road.


I'm wearing a long sleeve hiking shirt, a fleece, and my raincoat. I'm sweating like crazy. Because of "the event" I referenced earlier, I don't trust the water in my canteens. I walk by the sketchiest fountain I've ever seen without partaking and recognize that I've put myself at the front end of a mild survival situation.



Do I drink the remaining water I have on me, or keep forging ahead? I make the decision to trust in God, pray grace over the water and consume it. I keep forging on.


Another uphill, then another. I finally reach a couple of buildings and hope that I've come up to a place where I can rest for a minute. These buildings are not cafes, etc, but empty businesses. I rest standing up and review my guidebook under a tree keeping the cold mist off of me. When I identify where I am, I am surprised at how little distance I've covered since Triacastela and worse, how much further I need to walk with no Alburgue options (no places to stay). Time to suck it up, buttercup.


I start walking, not really sure exactly how many Kilometers I need to travel. No need for precise math, just need to move it. After a long gradual ascent, I miss a marker to turn off, but immediately stop in my tracks as my mind reconciles what the marker was asking me to do.

I back up 20 paces and take a gravel descent on a gravel horse type trail. The thought that I haven't seen another walker since I left Triacastela sets in. The descent is steep, and my mind wanders to what may happen if I slip, or worse, if I slip and end up injured. I repeatedly talk to God on the way down and tell Him I trust Him. The path gets steeper and my trust grows stronger. I eventually make my way into a small town (Montán) that hosts a vending machine next to a little chair. Crisis averted.


After a short rest, I continue moving towards the town of Pintín which is the first available place to stay.


Earlier in the day, I was remembering a water bridge that my sons and I walked across in 2018. The water was gloriously chili and brought relief to my feet. As I kept knocking down kilometers towards a place to rest, I came across a farm water crossing. I bent down and felt the water. After two minutes of deliberation, I decided to go for it and put my feet in the icy cold water. It was glorious. I laughed as I sat on a wall next to the stream and felt cold rain begin again as my pack sat helpless and exposed on the ground getting wet while I rushed to dry my feet and get my socks and shoes on. It was a great moment.


With fresh feet feeling good, I finish my day in Pintín. Tomorrow I roll past Sarria, where large numbers of pilgrims start their journey. Not sure what crowds out here are going to feel like!


Know that I am praying for you through my journey. I am so grateful for your prayers for me.


Together we go higher and go further! Ultreia!


I'll see you down the road! Love y'all, Greg





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5 Comments


poetzlg
May 18

keeping you in my prayers, Greg and I’m so enjoying this journey with you

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gregferrara
May 18
Replying to

Thank you Gertie! I am grateful for your prayers! Praying for all of you too!

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ptcbianchi
May 16

I’m so glad you finally made it to your destination!! What a day!

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gregferrara
May 18
Replying to

It was crazy! Thanks Leslie!

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Marcus Valdes
Marcus Valdes
May 16

Reminds me of a Key and Peale comedy video where they say "The Event" which is basically armageddon. Enjoying the travelogue Greg--I'm jealous of the experience for now!

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