Not supposed to


I wasn’t supposed to meet Katie.


My flight from New York to Madrid wasn’t supposed to turn around two hours in because of malfunctioning air conditioning.


We weren’t supposed to wait another two hours, until 2 am, to depart again.


I wasn’t supposed to miss the bus I’d bought to my Camino starting point, or the hostel I’d paid for.


I wasn’t supposed to spend a night in Madrid.


I wasn’t supposed to go to Avila.


I wasn’t supposed to leave my adapter in a Telepizza in Avila and have to wait hours to retrieve it.


I wasn’t supposed to miss my train to Salamanca, or back to Madrid, plans B and C, while waiting for Telepizza to open.


I wasn’t supposed to make my train to Ourense, having to run with my backpack like a crazy person through the streets of Avila to the train station, only to find that my destination wasn’t available on the automatic ticket machine, then having to wait in the long line at the ticket counter with mere minutes before the one train of the day to Ourense departed.


I wasn’t supposed to leave the hotel I’d narrowly, miraculously managed to find at 9:30 pm after my first of two nights in Ourense, considering lodging was nearly impossible to find.


I wasn’t supposed to walk up Rúa a Granxa at 12:30, half an hour before the albergue opened.


I wasn’t supposed to meet Katie.


But I did meet Katie. And because I did, everything changed.


It was all worth it. Worth the thwarted plans, and loss of control, and surprises. Worth missing six of the towns I’d anticipated walking through. Worth the dozens of dollars I lost on arrangements I’d made long before. Worth sitting outside the Basilica de San Vicente, across from Telepizza, starting to cry as it started to rain, wondering to myself, Why have I done this? Was this all a mistake? Lord, what are You doing?


It was all worth it.


And come to think of it, yes. I was supposed to meet Katie. Well, of course.


Now, as I settle back into to normal life, as I unpack and catch up with my roommates and look ahead to a new job beginning in three days, my heart aches with nostalgia already. Nostalgia for those hours of walking and resting and conversing side by side, of sharing our hearts and challenging each other and delighting in all that we had in common and making up songs and enjoying the silence.


I wouldn’t trade the heartache for the world.


#ElCamino

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