There is much written about the phenomenon of Camino angels. Loosely defined it is someone or something that appears and helps you along the way for some unknown reason. At first you think that is a nice legend but as the days and weeks go by and these things keep happening one starts to wonder if there is too much of this to just be the kindness of your fellow man.
My first angel was a Lutheran priest from Finland. On day 1 of the Camino I was excited to get started and slept poorly. I awoke to go to the bathroom at 5 and there was a woman standing in the kitchen of the Albergue ready to go. She said to me that she likes to walk very early but as a woman she did not like to walk out of town alone. Would you like to walk now? I said yes and quickly grabbed my pack. She had walked the Camino twice before and was a huge help to me. We walked together for two days until she finished the last portion she had to walk.
So many others: I wrote of the young Spanish info specialists who walked with me to Lorca. The young mother who stopped her car on the street to tell me I was off the trail but where I could get back on. There was the restaurant owner who showed me where to cut 3km off the route by just staying on the traditional Camino. Then there are the people who seem to show up just as your energy and motivation are fading. Two such people in the last two days. They are always cheerful and engaging and fun to talk to which makes the km fly by.
My nominee for angel of the Camino is Emi Gonzales Ordas. A person I met on a tour of a town in Ireland a year ago, she was kind enough to offer her email address and to show me around Leon. She took time after her job to show me Sahagun and then used her valuable day off to make sure I got to see the treasures of Leon.
One of my many take aways from my Camino experience is that I want to be more like Emi. I wish we could all take as much pride in our country, our history, and our faith to be as kind and giving as she. The world would be a better place.