Movie Night's unlikely pilgrims

From Rev. Saranell Hartman, Assistant Director of Theological Horizons: On a summer evening in Charlottesvillewe gathered at Open Grounds Studio at UVa to watch the ‘The Way’. This movie showcases two themes I love: community & spirituality. When Dr. Tom, played by Martin Sheen, learns that his son has died while trekking around the world, his own journey begins. He decides to complete what his son started El Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James).  El Camino is a pilgrimage that takes pilgrims across the top of Spain to a cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

Pilgrimage was once a common spiritual practice, along with prayer, fasting and retreat. For many years only a few walked El Camino but in recent years 1,000 pilgrims a day receive their “compostela” (certificate of completion). Why such an influx? Pilgrimage requires disconnection of our daily routines our iphones, ipad and lists of appointments and offers connection to humanity and the world. It allures those seeking greater meaning in life.

The movie's website says this: The Camino, by its nature, serves as the ultimate metaphor for life. Footsteps along a well-trodden path may be our guide, but do not shield us from the questions that most of our busy everyday lives prevent us at times from fully recognizing. The road offers very little to hide behind. The process of life is life along whichever road, path, Camino, or Way we find ourselves on. Our humanity toward ourselves and others, our history and our future is what defines us. Take the journey of life. Buen Camino!

Through unexpected and oftentimes amusing experiences along "The Way,"  Dr. Tom discovers the difference between "the life we live and the life we choose.”  The quartet of misfits, each walking ‘the Way’ for a different reason, become a community. Slowly Dr. Tom realizes that he doesn’t walk life’s journey alone- metaphorically or literally. And neither do we!

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