On Maundy Thursday this year, my beloved husband washed my feet. His gentle touch, the cool water spilling over, the comfort of a dry towel softly caressing, and then his prayer of anointment on each foot. He lifted his head to gaze into my eyes with a slow, sweet smile and said, "Just one step at a time.
Tears welled up in my eyes as my soul filled with peaceful hope that my desire to walk the Wicklow Way would be possible even with the many doubts, worries, and physical obstacles arising with the many "steps" to get ready.
Little did I know how immensely more powerful those Maundy Thursday words would be on the walk. Miles and miles and miles of steps...up and down steep rocky mountain trails, along narrow paths across hilltop ridges, on grassy tracks through the dark forests, through open fields with old wooden steps to cross the fences, and even walking asphalt roads to arrive at the next destination.
Little did I know how deeply exhausted my feet and body would be at the end of each day along with the amazing memories of absolutely breathtaking scenery. Every grueling up, up, up, up was met with a view to take your breath away...God's creation in such magnificent glory. Every down, down, down led into lush Irish valleys with gurgling streams. Just one step at a time to drink in every glorious moment and fill my soul while pushing my physical and mental stamina beyond my imagination.
Little did I know somewhere along the way of the next to last day, my right knee would begin screaming at me...with every step. Every step needed focus on where and how to place my foot, how to use my walking sticks, how to adjust my body, and most importantly how to not give up. Little did I know how inspiring and encouraging and helpful my fellow walking pilgrims would be. They were the ones who gave me the strength and courage to keep taking, just one step at a time.
Little did I know that when I awoke on the last day, I could hardly stand yet alone walk. So close to the finish...only one more day of the walk...but, how can I possibly do this for 14 miles? Just one step at a time... there's no hurry... there's no "right way" to do this... there's immense help from Gil and Alicia and Phil... and if I really can't, there's no judgment.
So I began the last day of the Wicklow Way walk from Shillelagh to Clonegal... just one step at a time. And what I saw and thought about and felt will resonate in my soul forever....ah, the work of transformation... just one step at a time.
Still walking... Cathy