On receiving unexpected gifts

Miles walked today: 0mi /0km
Total training miles to date: 106.9mi / 172.0km
Days left ’til I leave: 12

As I release myself from each of my duties and train others to do them this week, something astonishing is arriving in their place: gifts.

I hold to the theory that one life can only hold so much. I believe that the practice of releasing, simplifying, decluttering makes room for new opportunities to come in that just couldn’t otherwise.

I know this, I teach this, and yet I’m astonished when it happens.

Two posts ago I made a simple, humble request and since then 9 people have collectively sponsored 16 days on my pilgrimage (not to mention the earlier 5!). As each email arrived, I found myself increasingly surprised and touched. By this afternoon, I was in a puddle of grateful astonishment.

And then this arrived (author anon):

I wouldn’t ordinarily specify how you should experience your gift but this one comes with the stipulation (or at very least, a request) that you spend it on a TLC experience at some stage in your 7 weeks.

Specifically, I’m thinking of a time where you need some very specific food that is out of budget, but which will help restore you in untold ways. Or maybe a day where you simply cannot take another night in a snore-infested dorm, and all that goes with it. The kind of day where you might be feeling a bit more sensitive or vulnerable than usual; the kind of day where for the sake of all that you are, you need your own room, a decent bed with clean sheets, a shower (or even better, a bath) with hot water, soaps, and fluffy towels to follow. Maybe even access to a phone so you can reach out to someone you love. I’m thinking of the kind of day where the trip might be a bit rough on your spirit and you need some proper TLC to bring you back to center.

Why? Because I think we all need some kindness in life, and walking 500 miles across foreign soil is sure to open up the heart in unexpected and maybe tender ways. And, I know you are a thrifty girl and would probably not splurge your hard-saved cash on something so frivolous, and especially on a Catholic pilgrimage! But you know, even Jesus is said to have a bit of help in carrying the cross, and we all need help and comfort in life. So please accept this small donation as a bit of help in easing the load that the Camino is sure to present.

Lastly, I hold you as a very dear friend – not just a “bread and butter, basic sustenance” friend, but as a “cake and lashings of fresh tea” kind of friend too. So, please don’t spend this on basic sustenance unless you get really stuck for cash and really have to. Please spend it on something nice for you and know that from hundreds of miles away, it’s the only tool I have to reach out to you, hug you, support you, and cheer you on!

And that, my friends, is my crash course in receiving love and generosity. I — who work so hard to be encouraging, sensitive and caring for others — I just got schooled about the value of self care and receiving love. And this dear friend also provided the support to make that self care possible.

I wrote on Facebook today: as I let go of my roles and responsibilities this week, the Universe keeps filling it back up with others’ love and generosity. I am awed. I am humbled. The insights of my impending pilgrimage are arriving before I even start.

3 thoughts on “On receiving unexpected gifts

  1. now THAT is the MOST BEAUTIFUL thing i have read… maybe EVER! i’m in a puddle now, too! this is a person who really, truly, deeply knows YOU! i’m inspired. thank you, guardian angel. and thank you, jen, for sharing this blessing of kindness and love.

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