To say I’m horrified and “rocked off my moorings” by the violence at the Boston Marathon this afternoon is an understatement. I’m stuck on Why? When I think of the victims I weep … no more words…
When I walked along the Camino I was pleasantly surprised to learn that many men and women who walked the entire 750 km French Way to Santiago de Compostela were older than me, and many were walking in spite of a severe illness like cancer.
In my first post about the Camino I told you about Kurt, a teacher from Germany.
Kurt began his pilgrimage alone, but ended up walking with Wolfgang and Christiane who are both also from Germany. That’s how friendships are formed on the Camino: you meet someone on the road, and you’re instantly friends, life-long friends.
I’m not used to carrying a heavy weight and after several days of walking with my backpack I developed painful “rocks” on my back. Kurt was the good Samaritan who gave me massages along the way.
“A massage for Rosie,” he’d say…
I haven’t told you about his friend Wolfgang who’s one of the shining lights I met on the Camino: always happy and so kind.
Kurt and I are both expert yakkers, but though Wolfgang could also speak English, he didn’t talk much, preferring to listen, than to yak.
I walked with Kurt and Wolfgang several times, but I couldn’t keep up with their fast pace, and they reached Santiago several days ahead of our group.
In the photo of Wolfgang (below) taken at the end of the pilgrimage in the tee-shirt Kurt and Christiane bought him, he looks suntanned, fit and healthy.
Actually Wolfgang was a very sick man.
He set out alone on his pilgrimage after his doctor gave him six months to live.
The friendship and love from Kurt and Christiane, plus the fresh air and sun, and something about the magic of the Camino gave him a vitality and vigor so he was able to walk the entire 750 km route, and as you can see, he looked wonderful at the end.
I heard from Kurt in February: Wolfgang was really ill, and he and Christiane went to visit their sick friend.
“It was a really good decision to see him. He’s very brave. Though in a lot of pain he was very happy to see us and looked at us with grateful eyes…”
Wolfgang invited them back in the Spring for a barbecue, but Kurt’s not sure if there’s enough time in this life for him.
Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
As this is National Poetry Month, I end with a poem
Be a friend – by Edgar Guest
Be a friend. You don’t need money:
Just a disposition sunny;
Just the wish to help another
Get along some way or other;
Just a kindly hand extended
Out to one who’s unbefriended;
Just the will to give or lend,
This will make you someone’s friend.
Be a friend. You don’t need glory.
Friendship is a simple story.
Pass by trifling errors blindly,
Gaze on honest effort kindly,
Cheer the youth who’s bravely trying,
Pity him who’s sadly sighing;
Just a little labor spend
On the duties of a friend.
Be a friend. The pay is bigger
(Though not written by a figure)
Than is earned by people clever
In what’s merely self-endeavor.
You’Il have friends instead of neighbors
For the profits of your labors;
You’Il be richer in the end
Than a prince, if you’re a friend.
Edgar Albert Guest an English-born American poet (Born 1881, Birmingham, died 1959, Detroit) wrote more than 15,000 sentimental and optimistic verses – one a day from 1916 to 1959 – earning him the title the People’s Poet.
He began writing verse for the Free Press in 1904 under the heading “Chaff.” His columns evolved into a daily feature,”Breakfast Table Chat,” syndicated in about three hundred newspapers.
Dorothy Parker said of his poetry:
“I’d rather flunk my Wasserman test*
Than read the poetry of Edgar Guest.”
[* Wasserman test is an antibody test for syphilis]