Find Your Own ‘Way’

1280px-Freccia_del_cammino_di_santiago

By Aracuano – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2956595

Last week I watched The Way for the first time. It’s a film about grief, family, and faith and stars Martin Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez (also the director, writer, and producer). The movie was released in 2010, but I had never seen it. Well, it’s not the kind of movie that you’d find in a multiplex cinema (but it should be there!).

The Camino de Santiago is a thousand-year-old walking trail that has more than a dozen routes, hence this symbol:

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The French Way, the most popular of the routes, is the one depicted in the movie, and begins at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees. All the routes end at Santiago de Compostela, where the same-named cathedral stands.

Thousands of people walk (or bike or ride) this route every year. In the summer months, the route can be unbearably crowded, with ‘pilgrims’ racing ahead, hoping to secure a bed in one of the hostels along the route. This defeats the idea of a pilgrimage.

A pilgrimage is defined as a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Although it often is a journey to a shrine or place of religious importance (think Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Shikoku in Japan), a pilgrimage also can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs.

Will I ever walk the Camino de Santiago? Probably not. I’m 58 years old, and the time for me to have made this journey was thirty years ago. I know my limitations, and walking for ten miles a day for nearly two months isn’t practical.

Estevez says the message of The Way is that “…it’s okay to be exactly who you are, that God loves you no matter how broken, no matter how imperfect you are.”

A fitting message for all of us.

Watch The Way on Netflix or buy your own DVD here

 

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7 Comments

I saw “The Way” in the theater when it first came out. I’m 62 years old, and am fascinated by this long distance trek centuries old. I still hope to walk it, but I better do it soon!

I haven’t seen that movie either, though I’ve known about it. It’s a beautiful message. One I whole-heartedly subscribe to.

I saw this movie for the first time a couple of years ago and loved it. I would have loved to had the time to make this pilgrimage in the past, too. I am shortly going to review a book about a modern day British explorer that reminds me of this movie.

I did a lot of traveling in Europe, Denise, but I didn’t know about this then. Had I known, maybe if I had had someone to walk with, I think I would have done it. Now I’ll make the journey in my mind. I know I couldn’t do a 500-mile walk, as much as I would like to. And sleeping bags are definitely for the young and intrepid!

When I was in Belgium last year we saw several markers showing the route of the pilgrimage. Not something I would have considered even when I was young.

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