Shadow shrugged. “I don’t know. Most of what I learned on the tree I’ve already forgotten,” he said. “I think I met some people. But I’m not certain of anything anymore. It’s like one of those dreams that changes you. You keep some of the dream forever, and you know things down deep inside yourself, because it happened to you, but when you go looking for details they kind of just slip out of your head.”
Neil Gaiman in American Gods
I finally, finally, finally finished Gaiman’s American Gods, and I can’t believe it took me this long. I’ve owned the book for so long, I actually forgot we already had a copy, and I bought another one. It sat next to its rival on the bookshelf in my office, and as I was weeding my library (a post-Camino by-product), I decided it was just the book to take to Colorado with me. I always catch up on my reading on vacation, and this trip, I’ve also included Gaiman’s Stardust in the pile.
The character, Shadow, makes a relevant and profound observation–a connection I might never have made, had I read this novel pre-Camino. Trade my name for Shadow’s and “tree” for the word, “walk,” and this statement sums up the feeling of Camino for me, now that I’m back. So many of the details have faded, and I’m grateful that I wrote a blog to capture some of what happened along the Way.
I want to take a moment to face this feeling of uncertainty, as I think it is one that I will need to make friends with. Looking to a future without a career or child-rearing responsibilities to anchor me to the world, the next chapter seems filled with unknowns and a lack of clarity. I deal with uncertainty by looking for the connections from here to there–like a mystery novel, I look for clues, or what I like to think of as those little God-breezes, that blow us where the Spirit wills, assuming we are listening. Planting the seeds of the future, requires being willing to let go just enough to allow the breezes to move us, as well as making time to listen to where we’re being called to new life. In retrospect, the Camino, instead of being the end of my sabbatical year, was just the beginning of this journey for me.
Looking to the future, I’ve made a connection with a group called “The Next Chapter, Discerning Your Future in the Ignatian Tradition.” This new-ish organization in the St. Louis area provides a year-long exploration of retirement within a community of seekers–and seems to be the next clue in solving the mystery of a future yet unformed.
Losing close friends and family has brought me face to face with the reality of time passing more quickly. I want to seize the blessings of each day and let the dream continue to change me.
Do you have one of these dreams? Share yours, and join me for the journey.