The Camino Beckons

The Camino is beckoning me, I’m two days away. I’m excited. I’m nervous.

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No, not the Camino. Rancho San Antonio in Los Altos. I got stuck here after sunset a couple weeks ago doing a practice hike… scary hiking at night through woods without a flashlight!

People ask if I feel ready… I’ve bought my tickets, most of my lodging is figured out in UK and Paris, and I have my train tickets, I’ve been assembling my pack and weighing my load, and I feel like I alternate between going to REI and Sports Basement each day.

…But no, I really don’t feel ready. In some ways, I would ironically feel more at peace going to China- it’s actually the only country I’ve gone to outside of North America, and even with all the weird T.I.C. (This is China) idiosyncrasies of China… Europe is a foreign place to me in comparison. There is so much unknown, it’s hard to tell if I’m ready or not logistically… and then my soul- …yeah my soul.

If you haven’t been able to tell from my last post… I’ve been feeling just a tad… angsty lately. In a way, I knew this would happen, but at the same time, I didn’t really anticipate so much underneath the surface. Just boiling angst about everything from white supremacy to too many people having assumptions, opinions and expectations of me to somebody coming 10 minutes late because of traffic… I didn’t realize how much anger there was under the surface.

So my solution has been to take “practice hikes”. In fact, right after angrily typing out my last post in a huff, I slammed my laptop closed, got in my car to Rancho San Antonio and started hiking- for what I had planned as an 1 hour 3 mile hike at 4:30pm. But as I climbed up that hill, seeing ridge after ridge, with each bend revealing a new vista… I just kept walking. There was something cathartic about walking… stride after angry stride, I kept stomping up the hill, until I forgot I was taking steps and just kept going forward.

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Before I knew it, I had walked over 4 miles and was looking out at the clouds rolling down over the coastal ranges into the San Francisco Bay during the sunset… It was such a moment of peace, only to be interrupted by the realization that I would have to hike over 4 miles after sunset.

And there was something peculiar as I trudged through the woods in the dark, trying to make out the slightly brighter coloration of the path, and thinking every dark tree stump was a mountain lion- I just felt lighter. In fact, as I got to the car to find a ticket on my windshield because I had stayed in the park after the closing time… I laughed.

Vulnerable confession- I’ve had a deep fear during this sabbatical. I know that it’s common for one’s ugliness, sin and brokenness to be revealed during a time of rest- but eventually revealing the deeper currents of the Father’s grace for even those ugly parts of oneself, and to be reminded of that we were indeed created in His image, to find the true human being who can only be revealed by Grace …My fear has been that I would go through this sabbatical and just find how deeply sinful I am and that I wouldn’t find that deeper current of Grace within me. I’ve been afraid of peeling back the layers only to find rotting trash underneath, and as I’ve engaged with the stench of how broken I can be, I’ve started to not be sure if His Grace is strong enough to make me whole, especially to those deep layers…

…But the choice I make is to hope. I choose to hope that my angry trudging up the paths will be transformed into joyful laughter.

Jesus, God who incarnated Himself to walk among us… as I walk on this path ahead of me, remind me that You have not left my side, you continue to walk alongside me as brother, even as I feel my path is lonely and I prove to be sometimes a miserable and angsty companion- You’ve already walked this path, you are not afraid. 

If you want to follow me during these next 7 weeks, because I won’t have my laptop, I’ll be updating on my instagram (https://www.instagram.com/daniel_looks/) and my tumblr (http://daniellooks.tumblr.com) because of the shorter format. All posts will be cross posted onto the tumblr.

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