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Image borrowed from IMDB.com

Image borrowed from IMDB.com

For a while now I’ve wanted to talk about this movie, but haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.  Don’t ask why…I don’t know.

The Way refers to a trek known as el Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James).  The 800 kilometer Way of St. James really exists, running from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostella.  In the movie The Way, Tom, played by Martin Sheen, is called to France to claim the body of his son, Daniel, who started the Way, but was killed in a sudden storm in the mountains.

It isn’t long when Tom decides to trek the Way that Daniel began.  Tom is angry and not a man of prayer, so setting out on a pilgrimage is a little odd, but armed with a box of Daniel’s ashes, he heads out.  He leaves small piles of ash at various points on the journey.  His intention may be to do the Way for his son, but Tom learns a lot about himself along the way.

Despite his constant requests for privacy and keeping to himself as much as possible, Tom is joined along the way by four individuals all as different as night and day.  Every time I see The Way I notice something different, so I’m sure if I review this post next year, I’ll have some completely different insights, but I finally feel like I have seen it enough times to do it some justice, so here we go.

You don’t choose a life, you live one:  Daniel travels and feels that he must see and experience all that life has to offer.  He and Tom disagree about the direction their lives are going.  Tom says, “It is the life I chose.”  Daniel responds with “You don’t choose a life, you live one.” 

How often do we find ourselves wrapped up in the daily grind, forgetting why we’re doing it in the first place?  I would suggest to you, that there is a happy medium.  You don’t have to travel the world to live life – Lord know that many do it, but it’s all work, or they feel like they have to check things off a list, but don’t bother to take in the true beauty of it all.  We’ve got to take in the true beauty of everyday life.  Make opportunities for memories but don’t forget to get lost in them from time to time.

When I was young, I was too busy.  Now that I am old, I am too tired:  This line hit me pretty hard.  I’m always begging people to let me get through the next big event before I have to worry about the issue looming.  Unfortunately, there’s always another big event and there’s always more issues.  But, deadlines have been a way to prioritize – and for a procrastinator, that’s been my method of operation for years.  I am trying to get better, but I still find myself longing for retirement, where I can do what I want, not having to worry about work deadlines and can move around more freely.  However, I have to remind myself that I run the risk of being “too tired” if I push everything off.  So, I encourage everyone to remember this phrase and live for today.  Maybe we can all hold each other accountable.  😉

Which guidebook are you using?  There is this competition between Tom and Joost over the “American Guidebook” or the “Dutch Guidebook.”  One is supposedly full of shortcuts and paths to the nearest party.  The other is supposed to be the preferred and most clear routes.  Neither is perfect and neither is the point of what I’m asking.  Think more globally – what guidebook(s) are you using for your life?    The Bible, the Catechism, the story or writings of your favorite saint, the latest self-help title, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran?  The book is less of a concern, but how you live your life that matters.  Do you find yourself just going from party to party with no substance, or are you all substance with no party?  There is a happy medium between the two…  and that is the balance we’ve got to find before it’s too late.

Sometimes a dog fight near a cheese farm is just a dog fight near a cheese farm:  This is going to sound contradictory to 95% of what I say on this blog – but haven’t you known people who are so busy looking for meaning in everything that they miss what’s really going on. Our daily examination should help us find insight into what was important, and learn to downplay the things that really don’t mean anything.  We also have to realize that the meaning may not be obvious until some time later.

Why would you do The Way? They say you can’t do the Way for someone else, it is only for yourself.  What would make you take on a nearly 500 mile journey?  At 3 miles an hour, walking 12 hours a day – it would take two weeks. Would it be a prayer pilgrimage – saying continual rosaries, chanting novenas and such?  Would it be for health?  Would it be to clear you mind with hopes to hear the voice of God?  Would it be to meet people? 

Trekking the Way one of those things I’m putting on my bucket list, but I think God still has to tell me why.  It seems that way to many times I’ve been led into something for one reason, but it really works for others.  So, I don’t think it matters what I would think my reason for the trek would be, God will help me find what he wants me to find along the Way.The Way - Seashell

Make your own Way:  It’s obviously not in everyone’s life plan or abilities to make the pilgrimage of St. James.  However, you can make your own Way.  Pick small pilgrimages close to home.  Make mini pilgrimages in the back yard.  Join up with a group that you might not join and meet new people.  It’s all part of the Way.

For more information about the movie The Way, check out:  http://www.theway-themovie.com/

For more information about The Way of St. James, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_St._James

Buen Camino!!!