One of the many odd things about the pilgrimage is how the discomfort moves around. On the first day, my left hip was sore, and got gradually worse during the day, and over night.
The next morning, I was slightly worried that if it continued to get worse, I might struggle to walk the whole pilgrimage.
And at the first break, I suddenly noticed that it was no longer hurting.
By then, of course, something else was: I forget what, it may have been my right knee or my shins, or...
But that was very much the pattern. And the way to cope with these passing discomforts was largely to ignore them. (I am not saying that I didn't put blister plasters on my feet as the occasion arose: when something needs attention, it needs attention - but worrying about it really doesn't help). So singing the rosary, really attending to the meditations, engaging in cheery chat with other weary pilgrims, singing the secular songs and rounds that keep us marching... any of these was vastly preferable to thinking about how sore a hip, knee or shin was.
The poorest strategy was to slow a little, drop behind the chapter, and then struggle along with no company but one's own misery - and still having to march the same distance at the same pace, but getting to the rest break a little later, and therefore having a shorter rest, and thinking all the while about how much one's hip, knee, or shin is hurting.
Yet that is very tempting, nonetheless.
There's a metaphor there, somewhere, too...
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