From the upstairs bathroom the pilgrim roared for the second time this evening. Flu, maybe, or bad food. He is not the first vomitous traveler to share that awful serenade with the household. The toilet flushed, and a few moments later he shimmered down the stairs and into the living room where I sat.
"Rebekah," he said, pale-faced. "Do you believe in God?"
Not exactly what I expected to hear just then. But hey. "Yeah, I do," I told him. "You guys been talking up there?"
He smiled a little. I gave him a big glass of water. I told him to sit down, but he didn´t want to.
"Something is happening to me today. Something amazing," he said. "I´ve been walking for so long, and had such pain, and today I was walking alone so I just shouted and raged, like a madman. I am just so ready to give up. I tell myself if I get to this house and nobody is home, then that´s it, it´s a sign that my Camino is over. I am on the plane tomorrow and going home. But here I am. I feel like I am home."
"You´re welcome," I told him. "This is what we do here. You came to a good place." (His arrival was a reminder to me that my troubles could be a lot worse, and that pilgrims are the priority here.)
"I wonder if God sent me here. I was so glad to find you home, because I don´t really want to go back home yet. I was up there lying in the bed, hearing the rain, and I just gave up anyway. I just told God, "I give up. You take this. I can´t handle my life any more." And then I got up and want to the bathroom and threw up like I never threw up before. And now I feel like, wow. Like something amazing is happening. I don´t have the flu. I am not sick, really. I think I just got rid of all the, well, shmutz I´ve been carrying in my mind forever."
It was a Billy Graham moment. Anyone raised in Evangelical Land will recognize it.
"Wow," I told him. "Do you believe in God? In the Christian God, in Jesus?"
"I do now," he said.
"Well, then. What you just did means, in Christian terms, you are a new creation. You just made a brand new start, spiritually. Your past is gone. You are born again."
"It feels like maybe you are right," he said. "I´m Protestant. I heard about this before, but it didn´t really make sense..." We sat for a minute.
"What about the vomiting part?" he asked.
"That is unique," I told him. "I never heard of projectile conversion before. It might be your body just mirroring the cleanup that´s going on in your spirit. But vomiting -- I think that´s maybe supposed to happen when your demons are exorcised. And that´s one service we don´t usually provide."
"So I got a two-for-one bargain," he said, smiling. He smiled in all sincerity.
We had a cup of tea. He then went off to sleep some more.
Moratinos isn´t any more spiritual than any other place, but wonderful things happen here.
We keep a mop and a bucket handy.
(This pilgrim is a pop star in Germany, a real character. I would post his photo but I do not want to violate his privacy, and New Creations are sometimes fragile. Besides, I still have not found the cable for my camera.)