On the Camino, people enter and exit your life on a daily basis. I believe that the random nature of meeting people is far from random. With this in mind, my fellow pilgrims walked with me at an opportune time, shared their gift, absorbed mine, and left. Their departure created room for others to enter and allowed them to share their story with different people. Accepting this philosophy made saying goodbye much easier.
With my public speaking, book signings, and general insatiable desire to promote this project, I meet a lot of people. Each encounter is refreshing, but sometimes my breath is pulled from the lungs. A recent meeting with Justin and Patrick left me gasping for air!
When people contact me and ask to meet, my answer is always yes and the standard location is Starbucks on Apple. I never inquire as to the reason for the request. About a month ago, I met Patrick for some espresso mixed with scalded milk. He told me a story about a desire to push his childhood friend in a wheelchair across the 500-mile trail in Spain. There were born within 24 hours of each other. Gasp!
His friend, Justin, suffers from an autoimmune disease that attacks his nervous system. The first signs of this degenerative thief showed up at age 16. In 2007, he slowly lost the use of his lower half and is now confined to a wheelchair. In 2010, the relentless disease robbed him of the basic use of his arms and hands. I do not think anything can slow down this valiant man. He enjoys a successful career as a motivational speaker and has devoted his life to helping disabled travelers travel The Disabled Traveler. Next July, he will add the Camino de Santiago to his long list of accomplishments.
We met for lunch at Deli George in Boise. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Justin’s wife, two boys, and a daughter. When the food arrived, it never dawned on me that a man without use of his hands needs to be fed. In a most elegant manner, Patrick sat next to his friend and lifted the sandwich to Justin’s mouth. A bite and a head twist was the prelude to chewing. I was in awe at how natural it seemed. The uplifting conversation never missed a beat. It turns out that Justin is a marketing genius and he filled my quiver with some deadly arrows.
They plan to arrive in St. Jean on June 1, 2014. As news of their endeavor leaked, media interest began to flourish. They will likely have a film crew accompanying them along their journey. Stay tuned for an inspirational documentary!
We all have a lot of valid reasons why we can’t do things. I don’t think that thought has ever crossed their minds……….
Visit Their Camino Site: I’ll Push You