All This Before My Pilgrimage!

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"All this before my pilgrimage" by Michael T. Carrillo (CatholicMom.com)

Photo by Andrew Bowden (2012) via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

As you read this, I should be, God permitting, nearly a week into my pilgrimage along the Ignatian Way in the Basque Country of Spain. This pilgrimage is intended to be alone time for me and the Lord. I don’t know what He has in store for me, but I will try to be open to whatever he sends.

I wanted to start my pilgrimage with a free head, but things just didn’t quite work out that way. Perhaps God will give me the opportunity to sort out events and stressors that have come along in the past few weeks.

As with any trip, I have a few apprehensions. It has been about a decade since I was last in Europe. This is certainly the first time Vicki and I have been apart this long for nearly the past twenty years. It is going to feel strange and perhaps a little lonely not having her with me sharing in this venture.

Back in May we put down our dog, Emma. We adopted a new dog quite recently, a cocker-spaniel mix that we have named Bella. She is a sweet, lovable dog. I didn’t think I was ready for another one. Bella is full of spunk but there are things about her behavior, hopefully just temporary, that we need to address. For instance, she is not leash trained, we cannot tell if she hates our cat and means him harm or if she is just an aggressive player, and we had a “meet and greet” with my step-son’s dog and that did not go over as well as we had planned. Vicki is going to have to bear the brunt of Bella’s early initiation alone. All these things are happening just as I’m setting out on my pilgrimage.

Two days after we adopted Bella, my youngest son went to New York City with perhaps the intent of relocating there. Out of both of my sons, Kevin is the only one that I experienced leaving home. So, I am feeling a sense of loss, emptiness, and just feeling down. All this just before I begin my pilgrimage.

Vicki has given me a lot of support and understanding, even with all these stressors. She is very patient with dogs, so I am confident that she will gently guide Bella towards good behavior. Kevin is like a cat. He lands on his feet and opportunities always seem to come his way. Keeping these things in mind help me move forward towards my pilgrimage with a free mind.

I have received reconciliation and a send-off blessing. I hope to remain focused and take advantage of God’s graces along the way. Please pray for me on my journey and be assured of mine.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.


Copyright 2018 Michael T Carrillo

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About Author

Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.

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