I have a bucket list of things that I would like to experience in my lifetime and in the last few months there has been one item on that list that has been all consuming. I think about it daily and at every turn it seems to pop up sending little nudges my way. I know it’s the universe telling me it’s time to start planning, it’s time to start saving, you HAVE to make this happen. It is my dream to complete the Camino de Santiago with my family. The Camino is a pilgrimage that rolls through the flat plains of northern Spain, and across two mountain ranges to a very specific destination of Santiago de Compostela. The 500-mile-long path is world famous for being the most spiritual journey that a person can make on foot. For some, the Camino is deeply tied to religious beliefs but for others it can mark a major turning point in life, the end of one phase and a fresh start for the next. It can be about crushing goals, pushing your physical self to the limit, or experiencing the beauty and diversity this world has to offer. The most incredible part about this journey is the millions of reasons that people have for doing it. All walks of life are represented on the path and not one person could make it to the sacred finish without the courage, grace, or dignity given to them by this interesting and special combination of people along the way.
I recently finished a book about the Camino that not only brought me to a new excitement about my goal, but it made me see my own everyday journey in a very different way. The book is called, I’ll Push You. It is about two best friends who complete the entire 500-mile journey together, one of them in a wheelchair. Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck were childhood friends and at age 15 they experienced a car accident that triggered a dormant disease in Justin’s body, resulting in a life lived in a wheelchair. When Justin asked Patrick if the Camino would be possible for them to do together, Patrick, without hesitation said, “I’ll Push You”. This commitment not only meant pushing the wheelchair for 500 miles, but it also meant feeding Justin, bathing him, and even helping him to use the bathroom.
Most of the time we find that offering help is so much easier than asking for it. The most beautiful part about this story is that Justin had the courage to ask.
Why is it that we see asking for help as a sign of weakness? We can’t do everything on our own and sometimes we have to put our faith in the hands of the people that love us. We must let others push us when we can’t walk on our own. I have your back if you have mine, it’s a give and take commitment. No journey is meant to be taken alone and if you have the courage to ask for help the triumph at the end of the road will be that much sweeter because you shared in the experience together. The power of our connections can move mountains, all you have to do is ask for the support you need and most importantly take it when it’s given to you.
Most of us won’t get the opportunity to push our best friend across Spain, but in our daily lives we all have mountains to climb and achievements to celebrate! Let’s do it side by side with our people and embrace the power of our community and connections. Becoming the best version of ourselves can only be done when we let others have our back, and when we dig a little deeper into those connections for a big push. True friendship means taking big risks and planting big trust. There is so much to be learned when you put your trust in the strength of others.