Dear Christine, Renee’, Family, and Followers.

“ God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change…”

Some of you have sensed an undercurrent in my posts. Reading between the lines you have reached out to me to see if I am OK.

First of all, thank you for your concern. Secondly, I am not OK. I have done my best to put a publicly optimistic and positive spin on our experience. The brave front began crumbling more than a week ago. It collapsed about three days ago.

I reached out to Christine and Renee’ and told them that I could not go any further. The morning pain, leg spasms, and limitations on movement have become extreme. I have seen how it has become unsettling for Britton to see my struggle. One morning he voiced, “It’s getting worse isn’t it Grandpa. Are you going to have to have surgery?”

This is not just a matter of listening to my body, but also of being responsible for the care of my Grandson.

…”the courage to change the things I can…”

I have secured 1st class train tickets from Burgos to Barcelona. We depart Thursday afternoon for the 6 hour trip. We have a hotel room reserved at the airport. I was able to cancel our pre-arranged accommodations in Santiago and Barcelona without charge.

I was able to exchange out July 15th tickets to visit the Sagrada Familia for June 28th tickets. This despite the tickets originally being non-refundable and non-modifiable.

Christine was able to change our return flight from July to this weekend. Somehow she got us upgraded from Premium Select seats to 1st Class/Delta One. The seats make into beds. The upgrade cost… $35 for each of us. Christine is a magician.

”and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

It has been said that with age comes wisdom. Perhaps. In my case with age comes a well used and occasionally abused spine. That is the price of a life well lived.

Pilgrimage in general and the Camino in particular is first and foremost a journey, not just a destination.

Britton and I have shared a remarkable time together, almost a month in France and Spain.

I have witnessed him rapidly grow into full partnership with me on the Camino. He and I have covered nearly 300km together. Most exciting for me is to hear him voice his desire and intention to return and complete the journey, perhaps with his Mother and one or more siblings. He has become a real Peregrino, a 15 year old Camino zealot.

I am at peace with my decision and I have no regrets. Everything that is truly important has been achieved. The seeds of pilgrimage have been planted. How they grow, how they mature, and what fruit is finally harvested are matters that were never in my hands.

Love to all of you. Peace. Pete.

50 thoughts on “Denial and Acceptance. Burgos, Spain.

  1. Dear Pete and all – My 87 yo Camino friend always tells me that “the decision will make itself” – my tag on that is if I am paying attention and not being stubborn. Ha ha. I am so glad that you are listening to your body and treating it like the precious vessel it is. It is a strong, intelligent person that takes care of themselves rather than risk more damage. As you said – the seed – that lovely Camino seed has been planted! Now we all get to watch and see how it grows! (insert heart emoji)(which my computer will not let me do) I am sending you the full version of the Serenity Prayer – just because I love it. Sorry my friend – running out the door this morning. Be well – stay groovy – hugs

    Serenity Prayer

    God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change;
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And wisdom to know the difference.
    Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to His Will;
    So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next. Amen.

    (ps – change the pronoun to whatever suits you – my God doesn’t mind)

    Read more at:

    • Liz, my app only has a stupid “like“ button. I wish I could signal so much more. Yours is voice that physically touches me.
      I don’t think “God” is confused by whatever name we use to address the Creator/Spirit. Love to you and Frank.

      • bhaskins1b1147f2a8c says:

        All our best wishes for a painless or at least manageable trip home. You are blessed with a magician wife, wonderful grandson and a universe that is looking out for you. Thank you for the amazing sharing of this trip. You are a fabulous one of a kind.
        Bobbi & Russ

  2. Oh, Pete. I know how hard it must have been for you to make this decision. My heart aches for you. . BUT I am so glad you were able to recognize , and finally accept, that this is what you needed to do. Also, what joy you must feel for creating another Camino zealot!!! Big hug, my friend.

  3. Julie Baliva says:

    Pete, have been following daily. I have been praying as I felt things were a not normal. I know how difficult it must be to have to change plans. Your body needs to serve you a while longer so you must take care of it. I’m sure Britton has had a wonderful life changing experience that will be with him and passed on to his family and family yet to come. You are an amazing person. Stay strong! Prayers for future health outcomes. Safe travels. Blessings, Julie

  4. What do I think ?
    So many thoughts.
    As a 78-year-old grandmother, I want to live forever to watch my 3 granddaughters grow up. I want my body to not age as I live forever. I want to not involve myself in daily nonsense. I want to spend my time marvel at the play of light and shadow on rose petals. I want to more fully understand Sebastian Junger’s book, “In My Time of Dying.”
    Maybe it was never possible to fully appreciate life as we hurried through our careers and obligations. Now, as we truly are in awe of life – I don’t want it to end. And especially not with a compromised body. Or does this aging compromised body force us to see life – real life. So it too is a gift.
    What I do know is up until your grandson’s 100th birthday he will remember this adventure with you above all others. Goal achieved.

    • Fran, thank you so much. I especially like, “Or does this aging compromised body force us to see life – real life. So it too is a gift.”
      That is deep and something I really need to ponder.

  5. Ruth Ann Solomon says:

    I’m so sorry you are not well. However You have given your grandson the most valuable gift of lifetime memories with you and an unbreakable bond. Safe travels home and prayers for healing

  6. Good call Pete. I know how much this means to you, and I’m betting that this will be the beginning of future adventures for Britton. Take care getting home and I look forward to getting the old gang together for a meal from the garden in July.
    Peace and a speedy recovery. Bill

  7. Karen Hubble says:

    Dear Peter, We send you are Camino blessings and have such gratitude for the sharing of your experiences. Life is good, the Camino provides—as it has for you and Britton. A remarkable journey no matter the distance!

  8. It is interesting to be at an age when we have nothing left to prove. We have caught sight of the truth that what comes in life carries no measure of our worth. That is already secured and confirmed with each breath as we breath it. Ours is to embrace each moment as it comes attending to what it brings, and do precisely what you have done, gather the information it brings and make informed decisions as to how to proceed. Just as you have learned from every Camino prior, you will learn from this one. The discoveries made will enrich your life as you continue to process them.

  9. Nathalie Elliott says:

    Pete, I am sad to learn of your physical suffering and sincerely hope the hope and loving emotions you express about your experience with Britton this summer provides comfort as you travel home. Peace, my friend.

  10. You lit the spark of “The Way” for B and someday he will finish it for both of you! I’m glad for your peace re: your decision because it is the right one! And how all the going home accommodations fell into place is another verification that the time was right! Great memories made and great pics taken… one of my favs is the one you posted here, the back of the two of you on “your Way”…

  11. The memories of this trip will live a long, long time with your trip companion and all is because you had the strength and will to give it the old college try.

    Change is not the same as failure. You are both amazing.

  12. Nancy Antonette Wallingford says:

    I have so enjoyed your sharing your pilgrimage with Britton. I am sure that it changed his life. Good for you to be so courageous in making your decision to come home. We are all so happy for you and Britton to have had this wonderful adventure together.

  13. So sad to read of this early departure, but mainly concerned for your health. Take care, my friend. I may be calling Christine for my travel agent in the future, however. That was amazing!

  14. Sorry you couldn’t stick with the original plan; but I admire what you accomplished and passed the torch to Britton. Another thought; you quit with your boots on! Well done.

  15. Pete, I, too, have been wondering if you were having more issues with your back. I’m sorry that you are in pain and I know how hard you have tried to fight through it, for both of you. Wise and difficult decision. I am so glad that you will get to see the Sagrada Familia before you return. The memories you and Britton have made together are priceless. So, too, are the lie flat seats on the plane! Rest well and safe travels. Susan

  16. “The price of a life well lived…” Ah, that got me. So very (beautifully-but-hard) true. I’m so very sorry that you have had to cut your trip short, Peter. But, I’m grateful that Britton was able to experience this Camino with you. Something he will take with him for the rest of his life! Thank you for letting me share in your experience – it’s been a joy to read along.

  17. Cheryl Pound says:

    Pete, you are a champion….prayers for good rest, healing body. I have enjoyed your travels and captioning so much. Would like to mention…What has been most notable, has been the transforming expressions on Britton’s face. Like comfortable with himself. Joy. What a wonderful experience and memories you have been able to make together. Get well soon

  18. Christine Rankin says:

    Welcome home Pete. We loved your journey story once again this year. I truly believe that Britton watching your discernment in making this decision was a huge life lesson that he will also carry forward well into his life. How blessed you both are.

  19. Cheryl Bricks Bracht says:

    Omigosh, Pete. I’ve been there, done that – with the back pain and subsequent spasms, cramps, and sciatica, and I am simply amazed that you could function at all! I hope you can find a decent doctor that is NOT quick to recommend surgery. I had a procedure done after my disk bulged where they shot steroids right into the offending nerve. Hurt like h*ll, but, knock on wood, that was several years ago and so far so good. There are things I cannot do, like repetitive bending, but life is back to as normal as I am going to get. Best of luck to you in this endeavor. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and to Christine. The spouses get the heavy end of our incapacity…

    • Hi Cheryl! It’s great to hear from you. Congratulations on finding some relief. I am hopeful. My doctor is impressive, conservative, and doing this one step at a time. Fingers are crossed!

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