El Camino de Santiago, otherwise known as The Way of St. James, is a pilgrimage trail that stretches across northern Spain to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Tradition maintains that the remains of the apostle James are buried there.
Today, hundreds of pilgrims hike across Europe (primarily on foot) for weeks or months to walk “The Way.” Why do they make the journey? For many it is a religious experience. Others travel for health reasons, or to experience the beautiful European countryside. Whatever the reason, it is often said that those who walk El Camino finish it for different reasons than they started it.
That’s certainly true for Tom Avery, a seasoned ophthalmologist who travels to France to pick up the remains of his son, Daniel. After learning that Daniel died while hiking El Camino, Tom decides to finish the journey in his son’s place. Along The Way, he reluctantly befriends other travelers with pain of their own, and what starts as a fulfillment of Daniel’s dream becomes a journey of self-discovery and fellowship.
This study explores the journey depicted in The Way as a metaphor for the life path we all travel. It asks us to consider why we walk, what we learn from encountering others, and what lessons we gain from our journey. We all wrestle with hurt and heartache along The Way, but we can also gain strength and insight . . . and we don’t have to walk it alone. As Daniel once told his father, “You don’t choose a life . . . you live one.”