Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"The Way" Shows the Way

I'd wanted to see The Way from the moment I first heard

about the Emilio Estevez film about a father (Martin Sheen) 

who completes the "Camino" de Santiago de Campostela on

 behalf of his estramged son, who died on the first day of the

 journey. I knew I would like it, because of my interest in the 

centuries-old pilgrimage. Also because two good friends had

 recently completed the journey. (See my blog post of August

 17, 2011, "The Real 'Camino.'") What I was not prepared for

 was the way the story moved me at a deep level of my being

. I'm not ashamed to say that I wept from the opening scene 

to the roll of credits at the end. I hadn't had such an 

experience since the last time I saw the stage/musical version

 of Les Miserables.

What was it that touch me and created this unexpected 

reaction? In no particular order, I'll share the fruit of my


•  As a father, the thought of losing an adult child;

•  As a believer, contemplation of the mystery of a God who 

 leads us where we never intended to go and do things we

 thought we were either incapable of or disinterested in;

•  As a student of Christian history, to be pulled into a

tradition that places one of the twelve apostles in the 

outermost frontier of the Roman Empire in the second half

 of the first century AD/CE. (Is the tradition historically true?

 I don't know. At this point it hardly matters, in light of 

spiritual benefits accompanying the Camino.) 

•  As the person I am today, a sense of physical loss that I am 

not in condition to make such a journey on foot, even if I had

 a mind to. (Spare me the "You can do anything you want to" 


•  As a flawed human being, witnessing the opening and

 unfolding of a closed, self-centered heart to acceptance of

 and acceptance by other imperfect people--fellow travelers 

on the camino and on the journey of life.

I'm sure the film touched me in still other ways of which I am

 not even aware yet.

Bottom line, I highly recommend this film and look forward

to seeing it a second time myself.

You may be interested in viewing the trailer for this camino-based film at

Alfred J. Garrotto is the author of the suspense novel,