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December 9, 2017


By Maryanna Gabriel 

"Keep silence before me, O islands.... - Isaiah 41:1

     I am thinking of home, so very precious. I was however, in the wrong airport and at the wrong hotel, wondering if I was being abducted by my Arab cab driver. I had landed in the Orly Airport and I had thought I was in the Charles de Gaulle Airport. I was learning the hard way just how far apart the two airports were as we sped along the highway. The taxi driver tells me in French that I am lucky it is late at night because if it was the morning we would be stuck in traffic and it would cost me a lot more. As it was, the total cost was only $150 to get to where I was supposed to be. Seriously stressed. My room was prepaid. I had no choice.

    What is it going to be like to wake up and not go walking? I thought to myself that I will need to be silent for a period when I arrive home and process this precious time. My knee is twinging badly and waking me out of a sound sleep. Imagine, no more church bells throughout the night. If I am lucky I will hear owls when I get home and watch the moonlight move through the trees. I love the bird calls in the forest and I won't be missing the frenzied feeling that I had experienced in Santiago. I just about kissed the sandwich in the Paris airport. It had basil in it. Love the French. I am thinking to myself it never was about the church, or the bones of the saint, it was more of a question. Would Spirit speak to me in an amplified way? Would I be more spiritual? The answer to these questions are not terribly profound but as I have written it all felt like a Buddhist body meditation. I am happy that I have packed so well, avoided blisters, that careful plans were successful, and that I have accomplished this. The body really is a miracle of creation. I am grateful for the amazing people I have shared my time with, the kindnesses, the love, the  laughter, the enjoining of pain and joy, the visual feast of a culture that is rich and so different from my own, and I am grateful for the blessing of health, hearth and family in a much more acute way. I do feel like I am going home renewed. I contemplate how Saint James is a 2,000 year old slow burn that has caught fire. When we discussed it, The Man From Montreal had said to me that as long as people feel they are safe they will keep coming. What is it exactly that drives us? This is an answer I feel I have discovered but like most matters of the soul and spirit it is difficult to define and articulate and one in which I am internalizing. For now.