Oh wow! Thank you for such a wonderful welcome back from my sabbatical! Everything was just right. From the “Welcome Back” message on the church sign, to the flowers sent anonymously, to the smiles and hugs, to the exuberant worship services. And the church building itself! My, you all worked so hard. Everything is gleaming and shining and amazing!
It feels good to return to life in Eureka and at Eureka Christian Church. Of course, part of me will probably long for the Camino for the rest of my life. Such is the power of the experience; I think it never fully lets you go. But I can say that it is nice to have a rhythm for my days again, and it is even better to get reconnected with you! It is good to be back.
However, I do not come back the same. I thought the Camino might change me. I hoped it would. I mean, seriously, you don’t want to walk 500 miles for nothing! I suspect that I’ll keep discovering my post-Camino changes as life unfolds from Santiago on, but I am already aware of a few.
*I feel really strong. (And more than just my leg muscles!) I feel like I have claimed an internal power I’ve only tentatively danced around before. I don’t know what that power will enable me to do, and I sure hope this feeling doesn’t go away, but for now I am aware of it more than I’ve ever been aware of it before. And because of that,
*I have changed some old patterns of behavior. Certainly that old, awful tape from childhood—“you’re not good enough; you’ll never be good enough.” That’s not really new. I’ve been successfully silencing that message for some time now. But there are others. Obsessive worries and irrational insecurities. Lately when I’ve felt those rising, I have been able to say to myself, “You know what, Jennie. You don’t have to be that way anymore. You have the power to change your response.” And I have. Rather than spiraling down into those ridiculous pits, I’ve been able to say to myself, “Stop. Be this way instead.” I don’t know why I wasn’t able to do that before. It really isn’t all that hard. I think I just had to learn that I do have power and I can be stronger.
I am glad to be back among you, but I’m not really “back.” I am instead a new creation, ready to see what God has in mind for me next.