Whether you walk the Camino de Santiago alone or with others, you inevitably meet new friends. My bro-in-law W and I have had a lot of conversations about the relationships that are formed along the Camino. Just like so many aspects of the Camino, this element seems to mirror life as a whole in many ways. Like it or not, the reality is that people come and go throughout our lives. It’s almost as if the natural ebb and flow of life operates a lot like a rubber band. Though some people are always present, others intersect with us at various points of life. This is exactly what happened along the Camino. We saw a lot of people at various points throughout the day. Yet we would go a few days without seeing others, only to bump into them at another coffee stop or city.
I believe there is a beauty to seeing the Camino as a microcosm to life. On a few occasions I found myself being conscious to recognize the moment I was experiencing as I realized that I would likely never see certain people again after that specific moment. There was often a bit of sadness and thankfulness as I watched people walk away, never to be seen by my eyes again. In our contemplating this, W said it well- there is a beauty to the fact that you are fully present with people maybe for only a day. Then you move on with life, never again seeing that person. However, the memory of the experience remains. Whether I like it or not, this is exactly how my life seems to flow.