Walking by Faith


On the Camino Portugues, Vilo do Conde to Esposende, Portugal



I am struck again this morning by the practical faith of Europeans — no guard rails on the footbridges, no warning signs. Just the assumption that you know how to comport yourself. No walk/don’t walk signs, just cross markings in the middle of busy streets. Step one foot out there and every car halts for you to cross. Pedestrians don’t wait to make sure they will stop either. Just walking by faith. 

Me? I stand on the curb and watch to make sure. I WAIT for the cars to actually stop before I cross. The drivers stare at me — what am I waiting for? Certainty? Perfection? There is none.  Step off the curb already, and trust. Trust that all these cars and people and forces, completely unknown to you, completely out of your control, will see to your safety.

It is cool and cloudy today, despite the sunny forecast. Better for walking anyway, and more accurately reflects my state of mind. The old fishermen have been stopping me today … they see the shell on my backpack. They pray for me or give me bread. It is believed that Pilgrims on the Way are under the protection of St James  … if you aid a Pilgrim, St James will reward you.