On the 3rd July I happily arrived to my friend’s parish, exhausted but happy as I hadnt seen my friends for years. I was planning to stay there for only a week which was the time needed for my friends to cycle there. And in that week I had received so much of God’s grace.
It was the most busiest week of that time when I came there as they were getting the parish building ready for blessing by archbishop. I helped out and also was a photographer of the event. It was nice to provide my own time and my job as a photographer for this event. It made me feel important and also happy as I was using and giving my abilities and talents that God gave me for others.
For the week of my recovery and waiting for my dear cyclists I had so much opportunities to talk to the priest and other people. I was every day thinking about my cycling tour and was looking forward to finish it. However, it wasn't looking any good and my friend priest told me that every pilgrimage is about carrying the cross. Yes, it was. The pain and the frustration and the weakness of accepting what was happening was such a cross for me. I wanted to get to Santiago whatever it would cost me. I forgot the fact that my destination wasn't Santiago but the Camino (journey). After that I was more calm, I truly realised that yes, this is my Camino, different to what we planned but it was so weirdly powerful that it must be higher power behind it all. I could just had ask why was God bringing me right there to them? Why them, why that time, or simply why? He sent me there and he gave me such pains because he loved me. He first had to make me calm and then show the beauty of his plans with me. I wasnt able to get it that time but there was a progress of internal changes.
And the changes came through talking and discussing my faith issues. I had so much time to spend in the church or talking to many people and the priests. I mentioned before that I struggled with my faith, praying and masses as I stopped believing in them. I still kept doing it but only because I knew it was right to do but my heart was totally numb.
Once my friend was talking to me and I said that I was always bored in the church, that it didn't interest me at all and when there was a mass I was only counting down minutes until the end of the mass or adoration. I was only going there because I knew it was right but couldnt get my heart to be involved in it. Logically, this wouldn't be possible if I had realised the power of prayers, masses or adoration. So once my friend said to me how she was praying, that she talked to God very often, she argued with him and said to him what she didn't like he was doing for her, that she suffered and was unable to deal with it on her own, etc. She simply grabbed the keys from the church and prayed there for hours in front of the Highest one. She said she was asking, praying, talking to him or just looking at him. She said to me she just needed to be with him, she needed to have that connection/bond with him. And then she turned to me and suggested me to do the same, that we would do it together later on at night when everything was quiet.
I realised how much I had run away from something that I was taking so seriously as a priority and that was fulfilling me so much. In the present, I think living in the country where people are afraid (or dont believe) of talking about God does not help at all and even more where there are no young people where the faith could be shared is really hard. For this reason, many times it almost disappears from my heart even so the faith is not about feelings, however it is good if shared in the community with other people. The fact that Slovakia is quite religious country helps the fact of believing and experiencing God more because one surrounded by it and the nature of the country says it clearly - crosses beside the roads, many churches, holy places around the country, great young meetings...
Once we went for a mass to the church. After the mass, the terrible storm and heavy rain came. People left and as the fact that my friend was scared of the storm but felt safe in the church, she stayed in. I stayed in too and I was bored so I was walking around the church and she came to me saying: "why don't you use this time and pray to God and tell him everything. He is giving you the time now and he is waiting for you." I wasn't really in a praying mood and not even interested in doing it. I was still wondering around the church but then I got closer to the altar and stood there for a while because I didn't know what to do. I started to be saying words such as: "Dear God, I want to come back to you. I want to be your servant but I don't know how. Please help me to come back to you..." I didn't feel anything, I felt like I was just blabbing and these words weren't coming from my heart. I knew they weren't, I only wanted them to be coming from my heart. I wanted to feel it, I wanted to make myself to want to come back to God. But it was only my mind that wanted to come back but my heart was numb. Then I got on my knees in front of the altar and started to sing for God. It didn't help either but I knew, that Jesus was there with me, may be kneeling beside me but even so my heart still felt so numb. I finished my praying, got up from the floor and the rain stopped. We got back home.
This was the time I started to be thinking more about God and how he worked through sending me there and seeing these people that were showing me more about the secrets of the faith. Yet I still wasnt sure about it but I knew I was becoming more positive in what was happening about my situation.
The week had passed very quickly and I was still thinking what to do about cycling. I was really sure I was going to carry on with my friends but sometimes when I was running with the kids in the parish I still could feel pain in my knees. I wasn't happy about it and was so worrying and still not being able to accept the fact that I may not be able to go with them but I wasnt so upset about this fact. After time I became more calm more sensitive to what was happening and reasons for it. So the day before they were coming I tried to cycle to the next village. The way there was fine, but again that symbolic distance between 13-15km, I was in pain again. I knew it was going to happen, people were saying to me to not to carry on bike but I didnt listen to them even so I knew this was my end of cycling and this only proved it.
Well, there was a harder bit to do. To make a decision of what was going to happen. I couldnt cycle and this was for sure. There were so many different options of what to do but which one was the best? On that day, the decision was made and the way it happened was amazing and also everything that came afterwards was such a blessing.
But I think this is the right time to stop and leave for the next time.