I’ve been dreading writing this newsletter for three weeks. Why ? Is there anything to report? Are the readers still interested ? Those kinds of questions. I’ve just been on Facebook, the Le Coeur du Chemin account gets congratulations from all kinds of people on his/her first birthday. Yes the account is 1 year old and there are many people who follow and support it. So it’s still alive!
So there is little progress, because it is just very difficult to find a suitable property. Made three trips to France this year in search of the property. I did not found a building, but have met very nice and inspiring people. The first one I would like to mention is Petra, who bought a house in Northern France 3 years ago, renovated it completely independently and now lives there with her dog in a village of 450 residents. Only seen 32 pilgrims this year and yet so positive and driven. She is living the dream and she is doing it beautifully.
And then Olivier and Marie-Noëlle. They started a new donativo in Faycelles in April. They have bought a property in the south of France on Via Podiensis. It was also high on my list, but as brother Fons would say “it wasn’t meant for you”. Olivier also had a burnout, completely changed course and is now starting a donativo with the option of a longer stay specifically for people with a burnout. A very nice initiative and I hope to visit again.
So it is possible, even in Corona times.
Then today I also received an email that was all about “connecting” and that is the theme with which I will enter 2022. The original text is by Jan Kortie and at the bottom a link to the entire text for the enthusiast. “On the road with the most beautiful people. I think we are on the way to a society that is more open, more contact-rich, more inclusive and softer than what we are used to now. That will also have to be, it is urgently needed if we want to survive as humanity. We still have a long way to go, of course, but I am convinced that it will go in that direction. Not that it will be easy. A person does not acquire openness just like that. You don’t get it by doing your best for it, but by letting go. By surrendering to uncertainty, by allowing pain and vulnerability. It takes courage and fortitude.” (read the whole text).
What is stated above is exactly what makes the Camino (or Le Chemin) so special and why people are gripped by it, regardless of religion, nationality, status, etc. Along the way everyone lets go and opens up for contact and that is where the most beautiful encounters arise. I myself have the privilege of regularly visiting the pilgrims’ hostel in Vessem and exactly the same thing happens there. This is where the most beautiful events of the past year originated.
Brother Fons said to me this year when we were discussing my inn plans, “if it must be so, so be it”. And that is right.
I wish everyone a very healthy and prosperous 2022 and hope to meet again soon.