Day 3: Burdens

Zubiri bridge.jpg

We leave the pilgrim-hosting machine that is Roncesvalles at 7am, and just before 5pm, P ("my Canadian twin") and I are dragging ourselves down the steep and rocky path towards town. In the heat and exhaustion, my brain shuts off. The two of us will reach town by sheer (rapidly waning) will alone. 

Guidebooks and fellow pilgrims warn of the steep downhill into Roncesvalles, but it is nothing compared to the long, hot, and frustrating descent into Zubiri today. The map indicates that it is 21km between here and Roncesvalles, but I'm convinced a few kilometers are missing from the map.  

As we cross Puente de la Rabia, we encounter an unexpected situation. On the road ahead of us, a young man is struggling with a broken down SUV as he attempts to push it around the corner. Forgetting our own exhaustion at the moment, we offer our assistance. After refusing us twice (we must be quite a sight - in hiking skirts, dragging our poles and shouldering drooping packs after a ten hour day), he finally acquiesces...and we manage to move his car down the block. 

After snagging the last bunk available in the municipal albergue, I head back to the river with my bunkmate, D. We ease into the icy water, a welcome remedy for stiff and aching muscles. For the next thirty minutes, we shared our stories, our motivations and hopes for the Camino, and what we've learned so far - about ourselves, and about sharing life with those around us for the next few weeks. 

Most days, during the first hour of walking, I pray a Rosary. When praying with the Sorrowful Mysteries - the Carrying of the Cross - I pray that I will share in Christ's suffering that day, and like Simon, be attentive to unexpected opportunities to help others carry their crosses for awhile.

Do my own responsibilities weigh me down so much that I don't feel capable of responding to another's need? 

What is my reaction when someone's request for help interrupts my own plans? 

What do I need to let go of to make space to help another carry their burdens? 

Who do you have to help you carry your load?