A couple of weeks ago I had to give my husband full power of attorney to sign documents on my behalf abroad. When I had the papers certified at the embassy the lady behind the desk said to me: 'Do you realise that your husband can withdraw all your money from the bank, sign over properties to himself etc. with this document that you are signing right now?' I had to smile.
What happened to trust? Surely I should be able to trust the man that I've shared my life with for over thirty years! She registered my marriage in his country of birth all those years ago, so she knew how long we've been married, she even registered the births of the children and grandchild as well!
I suppose she has seen her fair share of foul play as well and perhaps the question was merely posed as a woman to woman - are you sure you know what you're doing - sort of warning or advice of sorts.
Remembering this incident made me think of the issue of trust. Here I am, planning a trip that involves 780 kilometres of walking in a strange country where they speak a foreign language. I'm not booking any accommodation and in fact, I'm planning to sleep in hostels that I've never been to where often 20-plus people sleep in dormitories and share bathrooms. In fact, there is no guarantee of available beds as it's a question of first come, first served in those establishments.
As for food - well, I'm hoping that there will be a meal available somewhere at the end of every day and I suppose if breakfast and lunch can magically appear in some form along the way, that will be just great!
I'm hoping that there will be warm water for my showers and somewhere where I can wash and dry my two outfits that I'm going to have with me. In fact, I'm hoping that I will be able to survive for a month with the meager number of items I will be able to take along in my 'Camino wardrobe'!
There's a lot of hoping in all the above, so I've made a decision to start trusting, instead of hoping!
The three pictures I've chosen for this post were all taken on my hikes last week and they fitted in perfectly with what I wanted to bring home here (probably to myself more than to anyone else!).
Those beautiful flowers could only appear if we had enough rain at the right time. Our Cape West Coast is transformed into a wonderland every year round about this time but it can only happen if we have rain. So, we have to trust that it will rain, and so we do. Every year.
The San people who lived in this part of the world so many years ago and who are responsible for the magnificent paintings below, had to put their trust in so much more! Rain, shelter, food, health - nothing was pre-packaged or available online! My worry about finding a bed every night on the camino seems like a joke when I imagine their lives - trust me, I have pictures of leopard tracks just outside the caves where we saw these paintings!
If you have ever been fortunate enough to spend time in the magical Cederberg area here in South Africa you will know that rock formations like the one in the photograph below, abound. Some of these magnificent structures seem almost surreal - I pretty much had to trust that this massive rock would remain supported by that tiny bottom structure as I stood in front of it...
You get the idea. So, trust I will.
Here is a lovely piece from Ermanno Aiello's book where he relates an experience that illustrates exactly why I trust that all will work out exactly as it should.
' I had planned to stay for two nights in Melide and, after I had made my way to the centre of town, I asked a passer-by whether he knew of any hotel or Casa Rural in the area.
"Yes", he replied and promptly led me to a hotel close by. Unfortunately this hotel did not have any rooms with en-suite bathrooms and I wasn't too keen to use a communal bathroom.
"No problema, Senhor" said the manageress, "our sister hotel does." and she promptly telephoned said hotel and reserved a room for me. "How do I get there?" I asked. "No problema, Senhor" said the man who had accompanied me to this hotel, "I'll take you there."
The sister hotel was at the entrance to Melide and was a fair distance away. My guide escorted me all the way to my hotel and, once there, refused any offer of payment for his help, drank a glass of orange juice with me and left.
Was this person another of God's angels sent on the camino to help the pilgrims, or was he just a man with a heart full of compassion? I could not recall when last I had received such help from a stranger.'
I hope that I will meet my own 'angels' in Spain and am reminded of two verses in the Bible:
Proverbs 3: 5&6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Hebrews 13: 1&2 - Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
I hope to add my own wonderful Camino stories to those of the thousands of pilgrims who have walked before me. If you are reading this and have walked the Camino - do share - I'd love to hear about your experiences!