In my hearty conversation with the second Australian Jess a few days back, she told me to be careful what I ask God for… He’ll always answer my prayers, but generally not how I expect or necessarily ‘want’ Him to. I understood her more fully this morning.
Today marks a year since I last gave my favourite Catwoman a hug and told her goodbye face to face.
[Last year] I had scheduled in a phone call with her; making sure she set apart time at her home (ten doors down from my parent’s house, where I grew up) in southern Sydney, so I could call her from Byron and we have an overdue and good quality chat. What I didn’t tell her, was that I was back in town. I called her at 9AM as promised, and she was telling me about her morning as I knocked on her front door.
Oh goodness, I love that woman.
We had SUCH a special time and I got hours with her all to myself, before doing the rounds with all my other Sydney catch ups. I would never have imagined that when I hugged her goodbye two days later it would be the last time I ever would.
So as I left Astorga with Yannick and he chatted away, I was probably a bit rude and absent; stuck in my memories and thankfulness for time I did get with Cat.
We stopped for a quick coffee 5kms out of town, and kept going. He was so sweet, matching my pace so we could walk together, but what I really needed was alone time.
I didn’t want to be rude, but also knew that it was rude to be in my mind instead of the present, and shot up a quick, “Lord, I really need some alone time” thought.
Another few kilometres down the track, God answered. But not necessarily how I expected or wanted.
I realised I didn’t have my phone.
I waved Yannick onward and promised I’d still catch up and get to the town as planned – eventually.
I turned around, and started to walk back those 5km to the cafe we had been at an hour ago. Yep, I asked God for alone time, alright. Be careful what you ask for – or just be specific!
I was determined not to let losing my phone rob me of any lesson, experience, or joy in the moment.
Yes, it may have been stolen and long gone by now, but no, that’s not the end of the world. It would be a bummer to lose my photos, and I know you would all be devastated in not getting so many blog posts. But there was also a freedom in knowing I’d be okay anyway; I’m not as attached as I have previously been to phones or possessions.
Instead of racing back in a panic, I took my time. My phone would either be there – awesome! – or it wouldn’t, so no real rush to get back. Nothing I could do would change the result.
I smiled at every person I walked past, wish them a “Buen Camino!” and nodded when they joked that Santiago was the other way. So much for never going backwards! I stopped to pick blackberries, and when there was no one else in sight, I got to cry some more for the woman who knew me the deepest, taught me the most and loved me best. (After my wonderful Mumma).
I got to the cafe after an hour or so, and the owner jumped up and gave me a big big smile and ushered me in with open arms. I didn’t go straight inside though – I went right up for a hug and cried on his chest. What a man; he just patted me on the back and let me have a moment.
I had left it just sitting on the table somehow. Oops! Frank moment for Naomi Joy! 😉
The delay meant that I got my time to be with God and my memories, and then Manuel was at the cafe. He is brilliant. Although he sleeps so flipping much. He had had an extra two and a half hours sleep to get to where I was at the same time 😐
As we walked towards our destination together (he for the first time, me covering the same ground for the third), he gently asked if I would share with him what I thought the lesson was in having to come back, and what my tears were for.
I got to tell him about Cat, and share that beautiful part of my story with him. He was just so good; giving me space, asking questions on queue; sharing the moment with me.