‘From the First Page I Had Tears’

“I’ve never wanted to reach out to a stranger more in my life.”

Those words came from a reader’s e-mail I received last week.

The woman explained that “crippling anxiety” had kept her home for years while she dreamed about visiting the redwoods and the Avenue of the Giants in Northern California.

Finally, after compelling encouragement from an acquaintance, she and her mother booked flights, hotels, and a rental car, still wondering if they “can really do this?”

“We did it. It was absolutely the most memorable experience.”

Waiting for a flight home in Medford, Oregon, she was drawn to Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows in a Barnes and Noble store. My wife Sue’s painting on the cover caught her attention, “but the ‘reluctant pilgrim’ made me take it off the shelf and investigate.”

“We had seven hours before our flight…I sat on the floor next to my mom…and from the first page I had tears. Not so much from sadness but from camaraderie. I know those feelings. To read them was like therapy. Your book was found at the EXACT moment in my life I needed it. Thank you for your gift. I’m inspired for planning our next trip!”

It was difficult. but cathartic for me to write in the book how my Camino de Santiago trekking experience brought me face-to-face with my own lifetime of battling anxiety. More than anything, I hoped my story would resonate with readers as an optimistic message.

Now it is my turn to be grateful. For this woman and other readers who have taken the time to write to me.

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