“Walking in community, with friends, with those who love us, that helps us. It helps us to arrive precisely at that goal, that 'there where' we're supposed to arrive.”
Our Camino began with quick stay in Madrid, followed by a four-hour drive to the start of our trek in León. I’m pretty sure St. James didn’t have access to a luxury minibus, but I’m also sure that he was a lot more faithful than his American middle-namesake. I can’t remember when I had multiple hours in a car that I didn’t have to drive or dish out handfuls of goldfish or correct behavior. I read a 600-page novel and then thought I should perhaps do some pilgrim preparation. I took out a notebook and started transcribing the intentions that had been given to me, then I moved to capturing the prayers I had for my wife and children. I continued to jot down hopes for siblings and colleagues, relatives and friends. Giving my hand a rest, I flipped through, impressed at all the good things I wanted for people in my life. Then I had a thought - do they want it? And if not, what do they want?
As I gazed out the window at the beautiful Spanish countryside, I found myself a little disappointed. I had listed all these wonderful people in my life, but how many have I ever asked what they want for their life, what they believe God is calling them to? As I checked the list again, I could remember a few encounters, but not nearly enough. There was nothing but good intention in my hopes for those I love. However, in life and leadership do I make a point to learn about what others want from life? Are my prayers recognizing where people are and the hungers of their heart, or are they simply my prescription for what I believe ails them? If the Lord of All doesn’t seek to control, but rather to fulfill, perhaps I should seek to understand the hole before figuring out how to fill it. I chose not to scrap my lists, but rather just to write, “that they want what God wants,” at the top of each page. I decided to start each day of prayer with that as the foundation of my intentions. As we seek to invite and walk with others on the journey, let’s be sure to find out where they are coming from and where they want to go before we try to take them somewhere new. Otherwise we might miss a chance to encounter the One who truly knows the way.