Parting Thoughts

Jo reflects on her last day at Emmaüs:

Looking down the road, sitting reading by the front gate, I am reminded of the Prodigal Father: Will he come? When? How will he be? How long have I got to wait? Somehow it is being available that mattters. Not only here, but generally too. Yes, I feel I may have something to offer other than drinks and visits to the toilet – and sometimes it is right to offer the possibility of prayer, or the T.S. Eliot poem, or the picture of the Emmaus story. It is amazing how many people have not heard that story.  Many have said how they appreciate the fact that someone would volunteer to sit, waiting for pilgrims. ‘The pilgrimage is in the heart’, someone said, so I am a pilgrim too.

I have been reading Pope Francis letter, Evangelii Gaudium, and have been especially touched by paragraph 279: ‘Sometimes it seems that our work is fruitless, but [it] is not like a business transaction….. It is not a show where we count how many people came as a result of our publicity, it is something much deeper, which escapes all measurement’

Pilgrims have many reasons for being on the Camino – a love of walking and nature, a love of meeting others from different countries, something to escape from, a need to think or get to know one’s self better, a decision to be made, a need to be alone.