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Sometimes, it's in the doing

It was a simple comment, overheard as friends chatted while I quietly tidied up some music things at church. One had walked the Camino a year or so earlier and the others were intrigued, wanted to know more.

I let their words wash over me. The Camino is on my bucket list and I love to hear others’ experiences of it. Along the way of hearing stories, reading articles, seeing documentaries and films, I’ve gathered a collective borrowed understanding of the pilgrimage based on memories that aren’t even mine.

I love Spain. I love walking. I can only imagine how hard and wonderful and beautiful and backbreaking it is. A lightly etched path, a way to tunnel through the darknesses of our souls, walking through shadows and mustering up the honesty to face them.

Walking - for me - has always been a way of grappling with things, finding reassurance in the background beat of rhythmic footfall. I imagine a long walk simply gives more scope for this.

Of course, the Camino is more than a walk, but it is still a walk. And from the communal walks I have done in the past, I know these are a way both to be with people and somehow, to be different with people. They’re a way to experience the beauty of nature, and the beauty of human nature - to see what this is like when it’s been all slowed down to walking pace.

I tuned back into the conversation. As they moved through questions about paths and practicalities, one of them dropped in another observation, ‘I’d love to do it one day. I suppose you have to be really fit though don’t you, to do a walk that long?’

‘Well…kind of,’ the walker replied, ‘But, you actually get fit enough by doing it.’

I smiled slowly. Yes. You do. As with everything. And if only we took that attitude to all our endeavours.

You actually get fit enough by doing it.

How many times have I held back from doing something I long to do because I’m not sure I’m well enough trained for it? I don’t have the right education or background perhaps. I’m not the right kind of person. Like the questioner, I wonder if I’ll be strong enough. Will I manage? Will people laugh? There is so much fear.

What if I just tried?

What if I just started off, my boots a little rigid and embarrassingly clean?

In trying and in doing it badly, I might learn how to do it less badly. I might even learn to do it well.

What vistas of beauty are we missing because we think we’re not fit enough, not ‘fit for purpose’?

We are told our value does not depend on what we do, and I couldn’t agree more. However, sometimes we need to ‘do’ so we know we ‘can’. Sometimes the doing brings us courage, shows us strengths – aspects of ourselves we didn’t believe we had.

The truth is, if we wait until we’re good enough, fit enough, trained enough, we’ll never do it. We’ll never do anything. It’s in the doing that we find our feet, softening the rough edges of our shoes, our dreams.

So, what if we just try anyway?

 ‘...but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me’ (Philippians 3:12)

(all photos: Northern Spain - C. O'Driscoll)


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