Dependence: 1. State of being influenced or determined by or subject to another 2. Trust; reliance 3. The midair moments following flinging yourself off the edge of a metaphorical cliff; falling through space, stomach in your throat feeling; crashing so deep in the water that ‘up’ is nowhere to be found; in over your head 4. Out of control and better for it
It’s day three on the Camino: Nothing But Him and y’all, it’s good. And yall, it’s hard! We left our hostel Moldova at 4:00am for a flight to Barcelona where we wandered all day. That night we took a sleepless night bus to Pamplona and arrived at 4:00am. With nothing open and hostel to go until 2:00pm, we slept for two hours on the floor of a bus parking garage. That day, I sorted necessities and sent 95% of my things to my final destination in Burgos.
Left with one outfit, my Bible, highlighter and pen, passport, tooth brush and toothpaste and 140€ (5€/day for food and 5€ for accommodation), I felt ‘ready’ to take the leap, as it were. The next morning (last Thursday), Nichol, Kaitlyn, paxtyn and I took our first steps of 137 miles starting at 5:00a. As we crested a hill seven miles in, I thought, “I’m hungry”. Not more than three minutes later at the top of the hill, Nichol chatted with a French couple who happily offered us each a dried fig. WOW. God provides.
I drank water out of the drinking fountains in every town. God provides.
I shared left over apples and cheese with Nichol. God provides.
We took a detour later that day that tacked on four miles to our 15 mile trek. Rounding out the 12th and again, I was hungry. Then, coming from the opposite direction comes my teammate Suzan armed with sandwiches. She had hoped to give them out to pilgrims after hearing God’s call for Nichol and I to have nothing but because of a rainstorm that morning, she had many left over. Without hesitation offered us both more than enough. God provides.
We arrived at that night’s pit stop, Puente La Reina and that’s when my knee started to give me trouble. I decided it just needed rest and went to bed. The next morning I still felt the twinge but decided to set out anyway, this time with my mentor, Ashley, Allina and mack. Our spirits high, we trudged up and down hills through consistent rain. At mile nine out of 13, we stopped in a coffee shop to dry out. Before I could even sit, Ashley bought me a coffee and sweet Mack bought me a delicious snack. God provides - more than sustenance for the body; sweet friendship for the soul.
After we left, my knee really got to hurting. Not ‘Ooo, qqqq this is uncomfortable’ but a ‘I’d rather rip my leg off and leave it on the trail’ kind of pain. With a mile to go, I was sitting on the side of the trail in tears. That’s when Lisa, a sweet South African walked up and immediately took off her pack to give me icy hot. God provides.
Praising God all the way, I finally made it to Estella and checked into a donation based hostel with Suzan. Needing dinner, I walked to the grocery store in town but I kid you not, as I started my .5 mile walk back, I broke down in sobs because of the pain. Y’all, I’ve never had knee pain before and the drama is real! Not only that, but I started to get nervous about what little money I brought. Like a dark cloud, fear loomed over me whispering: “This was a reeeeally bad idea. You’re hurt, you don’t have enough money to buy food each day, you are in trouble and need to fend for yourself.” My throat was in my stomach because of my leap and I feared the unknown of the water below. I feared God wouldn’t provide.
Upon my return to the hostel, I found a group of folks from Korea, Taiwan and Japan cooking dinner. Wiping the tears from my face, I exchanged small talk while waiting to cook my eggs. My new friends retired to the dining area and as I reached for a frying pan I hear, “Leah! you’re eating with us right?” I poked my head around the corner, “Yeah! I’d love to. I just need to cook my eggs really quick.” “No, no! I made you a plate! Come sit!” I sat down to a full meal, complete with multiple glasses of wine, surrounded by fast friends and no cloud of fear in sight. God provides.
My sweet squad-mate and PT, Kenna heard about the terrible state of my knee and made a house call, coming all the way to my hostel to work out the kinks. God provides.
The next morning, everyone set off for the next town 18 miles away...everyone but yours truly. With my knee still in significant pain, I asked the Lord what I should do. “Rest. I’ll provide.” And here is a testament to God’s work in my heart: I listened. The two sweet women, Isabel and Marina, running the hostel let me stay all day even when it was closed. Isabel brought me to a local craft show. They gave me lunch, medicine and a safe space to rest. I read my Bible, asked about their lives, chatted with God and stretched in the sun. Heck, I even got to wash all my clothes (an impressive feat)! God provides.
Tomorrow I will see how my knees feel. I believe God has specific reason why I’m here with nothing and no one but Him. With my stomach in my throat, deeper into the water I dive, out of control and better for it. God always provides.
“Then You crash over me and I’ve lost control but I’m free//I’m going under, I’m in over my head.//It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head.” In Over My Head, Bethel Music