Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Failure


We are finally alone together this evening, after many days of hosting.

We are tired-out, emotionally frazzled, low.

Maybe it´s all the letdown after the big fiesta. Maybe it´s the feeling that summer is almost gone, that the cool evening wind has the first breath of autumn in it. Maybe it´s all the nastiness and conflict in the news: from the hateful healthcare culture wars in America, to a nasty mob of locals tossing out the monks who run the parish church in Rabanal del Camino.

Maybe we´re feeling our own aches and pains a bit more as we look at our three-legged dog and wonder if she really is cured, and when we hear about beloved cousins and friends now losing ground to cancer.

Failure has something to do with it. Instead of staying the three weeks originally intended, one of our long-term meant-to-be-helpful guests decided last night to cut short his stay and move on. He can´t take this place any more, he said.

We cannot be all things to all people. But in a couple of very real ways, we let this one down. Paddy doesn´t want to talk about it any more. Maybe I should not be writing anything. But just for the sake of balancing out all the "Happy Happy Joy Joy" I write here, you oughtta know this.

Sometimes it´s hard being here and doing this. Sometimes, no matter where you live, just living is hard work.

10 comments:

Timecheck said...

Three weeks is a very long time for a guest. They truly have to be like family for it to work. For that matter, even family can be too much to take for that long a time.

Anonymous said...

this coming from personal experience ...

the peaceable kingdom, not unlike the camino, has 'strange and beautiful gifts' for us. some of us stay for two months, others two days and some are just passing through. ... no matter, we live together, care for each other, sometimes crash into each other ... but most certainly, we learn from each other ... (sometimes this feels like a hug and other times, a 'scruffle').

but shimmer on ... you are loved surely and unconditionally and sometimes what looks or feels like 'a failure' is really something quite different in disguise.

sincerely,
a grateful pilgrim

claire bangasser said...

((((((Reb & Paddy))))))

Susan said...

It was hearing the service chanted by the the monks at Rabanal that brought me back to volunteer and walk the camino for the second time. So sad to hear they are not welcome there anymore. It is not easy living as an outsider, especially in a culture so different from your own.

Anonymous said...

not a failure...

I can't imagine the Peaceable not being anything but...

however, we are only too human. THe picture of Una says it all...wounded, taking it all in, still her indominatable self...still bringing joy to others...

can't wait to be a part of it all again,

with love,
k

PL said...

Yes, sometimes it is hard, and that is the way of it. Life too is filled with comings and goings; that also is the way of it.

Shoulder on.

buchaneers7 said...

Sometimes we set ourselves too high an expectation. I am rather too full with other people's troubles in my work life at present, so I spill over with tears a little too easily. And I have a working week of 37 hours which leaves time when I can lay down my responsibility for supporting these folks. You offer yourselves full-time to whoever rolls in - it's not going to work out right every time, and you must take care of yourselves. In other areas you would be advised to have 'supervision' or some other such system/person for you to process the highs and lows of your ministry on the camino. God bless you both, and if it helps stamp or swear or weep or eat chocolate or hug a dog.....

Rita said...

Well, Rebekah, although it is true that we can not always be all things to all people, if we keep our heart open and know that everything has a reason, we realize that these things are not "failures", just lessons that we sometimes don't understand.
Big Hug
Hope to see you at Peaceable in September!!

Gareth Thomas said...

Reb, I'm a little surprised that you seem mystified that I should go. Of course,'being all things to all people' would be very difficult, and nobody attempts it. Just not allowing your guest with a broken foot to be harangued on a daily basis by booze-fuelled aggression masquerading as existential angst would have been enough to keep this guest happy! Just because someone is a seminarian should not mean that they automatically become a target for any residual anger someone posseses about the church to be thrown at them. I don't think I've ever felt so unwelcome in my life. In fact, this has been one of the worst experiences of my life.

Rebrites@yahoo.com said...

...so there we have it.
I feel bad, Gareth feels bad, Paddy feels... hmm. I cannot speak for Paddy, nor can I control him, his drinking, his words. I can only say this is way outside of normal for him.

I did what I could at the time. I am sorry it was not enough. I hope your foot is healing up, and things are progressing well for you in Roma.