I read this post on one of the Camino Facebook groups, and the author gave me permission to copy it here.
Why we walk the Camino by Kirk Springer
A coworker asked me why people walk the camino. I answered every person has their own reason – some happy, some sad, some simply for the adventure. As I was walking this morning, my memories took me back to my first service in the cathedral at Santiago. We all meet pilgrims along the way, seeing them here and there and building a pilgrim community. Sometimes in the conversations, others will reveal the reason for their pilgrimage.
As service was about to start, a friend from Brazil pulled me aside to talk for a minute, and when I returned, I had lost my seat and was now several pews behind my pilgrim family. My eyes touched the back of their heads and I thought of their stories: this woman’s husband recently died of a heart attack, next to her is a younger woman who’s husband succumbed to cancer in his early 40s. Here is a priest who has taken off the cloth for a sabbatical and is walking as one of us to renew his strength. Here is an Australian actor, hoping to jump the pond and become a Hollywood superstar, who has shot a pilot in L.A. and is now burning nervous energy while he waits for the results. Here is a mother with a neurological disease who has only months until she is confined to a wheelchair, walking with her daughter for one last Hurrah. So many stories, so many reasons to be there.
And as I looked at them, I thought, “We all did it. We walked 500 miles through snow, rain, sunny days, laughs and tears so we could sit here before God.”
I wept. The girl beside me asked why, and when I shrugged, she started weeping too. The Australian actor asked what was wrong with us, and when we both shrugged, his face turned red as he struggled – but he wiped away the tears and said, “Nope. Not going to do it.” And he moved to another pew.
It was such a beautiful moment. To rephrase a classic quote, “There are a million stories on the camino.” Every day more are added.