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Rebecca Gallo is trying to put into practice the lessons she learned while walking The Camino. Follow along as she continues her spiritual journey — whatever that might mean.

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April 3rd, 2013

Follow the Yellow Brick Road — or the Yellow Arrows

 
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yellow-arrows-1Along the Camino, yellow arrows point the way. A pilgrim sees them painted on trees, on buildings, on boulders and sidewalks. No maps are necessary. Just follow the yellow arrows.

In college a friend posted the following on his office door: ”This life is a test — it is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do.” I might modify this and say, “You would have received yellow arrows to point the way.”

When trying to decide to go to Taize or stay in the other night, I wished for an arrow to appear — either pointing to the door or to my couch. As I wondered if I really needed to buy the new pair of jeans I’d just tried on, I wished for an arrow — pointing to my wallet, or directing me out the door.

Along the Camino, there were times I saw two arrows pointing in different directions. One way led to an albergue where, if I was finished walking that day, I could rest for the night. Following the other arrow kept me on the path — if my energy was still plentiful and I wished to continue on toward Santiago.

Double arrows could also signify two routes — one direct, and one more scenic; one flatter, one more mountainous. Such is life as well. When I walk downtown, I can take the direct route down the busy road, or veer off on the quieter side streets. As much as I appreciate having options, sometimes I wish for a yellow arrow telling me which path to take.

The arrows along the Camino point one way: to Santiago. There’s a loop a pilgrim can walk post-Camino — from Santiago to Finisterre and Muxia and back to Santiago. One could walk circles over and over again on this trail. And sometimes my life feels that way, too. Haven’t I been here before?  I think as I struggle with the same doubts I’ve had for the last 10 years about my faith and my life choices.

The yellow arrows are a fairly recent addition to the Camino. They were the idea of Don Elias Valina Sampedro, a parish priest in the town of O Cebreiro. He and his nephews started painting them in 1984 to help pilgrims find their way. Now volunteers across Spain re-paint the arrows as needed.

I imagine what life would be like if I had someone ahead of me to mark the way. And then realize sometimes I have just that. When I first came up with the idea of moving to Asheville, I met a couple who offered to open their home to me should I wish to get acquainted with the area without committing to a lease. I felt like it was God saying, “Go! You have no reason not to!” God was right, of course. I listened, and for the first time in my life I live in a place where I can honestly say, “I could live here the rest of my life.”

I’ve learned I don’t necessarily need something as bright and clear as a yellow arrow. I have friends and family that point the way. I also have a strong belief in that inner voice I often hear — if only I take the time to quiet myself and ask for guidance.


What or who are the yellow arrows in your life? 

 
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The Author : Rebecca Gallo
In the spring of 2012, Rebecca Gallo spent six weeks walking the Camino to Santiago. Rebecca writes about putting into practice the lessons she learned on that journey. She's continuing her spiritual journey -- looking for deeper meaning, asking questions of all she's believed before, and finding answers in the people she meets and the experiences she has along the way.
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