As I turn the handle and enter the room that should be so familiar to me, I am struck by how out-of-place and uncomfortable I feel. I feel like a stranger entering someone else’s home, not me returning after a long journey.
Have I changed that much?
July, 2013, and my Camino finished, I have returned to my old life. Family and friends will soon arrive to welcome me with hugs, kisses, and open arms. I put my pack down and sit in the chair to remove my boots. My boots had been strangers two months earlier and now seem permanently attached to my feet. It feels strange to not have them on.
My pack weighs less than when I began, not only because I no longer need to carry water with me, but because of all the things I have left along the way, items I thought I needed and discovered I was better off without.
Also, the few things stolen. Clearly nothing necessary, for here I am, safe and secure back home. The person who needed them more than I finally has my forgiveness, although that was a tough one.
The books are where I had left them on the shelves, waiting my return to be read again. My papers still haven’t been filed and are also waiting for me. At this point, I’ll probably just throw them all away.
Projects left half done patiently await their turn for my attention. Quilting, sewing, The ladies – my collection of orchids – display their huge purple, white, and pink faces in the sunshine, none the worse for wear, although I’m sure they have missed my singing to them.
I open my closet and see the abundance of clothing. After having used one change of clothes for five weeks, a closet full of skirts, blouses, and pants truly seems like overkill. What will I ever do with so many clothes?
The only souvenirs I brought back were a shell which means nothing to anyone but me, and a sheet of paper with many stamps on it. Each stamp, from a stop along the way, indicates the long way I had gone but tells nothing of my journey.
The feeling that I might never be able to resettle into this place is unnerving. Have I changed that much?
My loving DH looks at me strangely, wondering what is wrong. I smile, knowing that I will not be able to completely explain no matter how I will try.
The sounds, the aromas, the people I had met along the way. Lyrical music drifting in my memories but only as essence, long since dissolved as melodies. Beautiful vistas, people who became close and whom I will never see again. I will look at my photos and my notebook and remember.
The me that has returned is a different me from the one that left. I have been challenged by sheep and wolves and chased them off. I have gotten lost, and lost again and found myself.
I have had weeks to listen to the voices in my head and I have come to realize truths about myself that are now self-evident. Neither snorers nor anxiety keep me up at night now. I have very occasionally surprised myself with courageous and generous actions.
I have disappointed myself over and over with thoughts and acts based on fear and cowardice and, having faced my worse self, have put that person aside, never to be seen again – I hope.
I have said hundreds of rosaries and found peace and courage in prayer.
I look at the door and close it behind me. I smile again at my DH as he offers to make me a cup of coffee and give me a cookie which he made especially for my return.
I am glad to be home.
To my friends and followers – This post was part of a writing challenge by WordPress.com, the site which hosts my blog. The challenge was to imagine that you walk through a door in your home, but the time on the other side has been changed. You could be in the past, the future, other people could be living there, whatever. This story is NOT my idea of what my return from my Camino will be like. Although a party and homemade cookies would be very nice.