Dweller on the Threshold – Astorga to Rabanal

Ok, so humor me with one more musical reflection. Van Morrison has an old song called “Dweller on the Threshold.” I have always taken it to be a reflection on what it is like to enter new territory, to walk into a new reality. Here are some of the words:

I’m a dweller on the threshold
And I’m waiting at the door
And I’m standing in the darkness
I don’t want to wait no more

I have seen without perceiving
I have been another man
Let me pierce the realm of glamour
So I know just what I am

Feel the angel of the present
In the mighty crystal fire
Lift me up consume my darkness
Let me travel even higher

I’m a dweller on the threshold
As I cross the burning ground
Let me go down to the water
Watch the great illusion drown

This is another song from my playlist and it came up the other day. It reminds me of how we are always entering into a new country, a new land, a new room and making amazing discoveries. I am “waiting” to enter, so that “I know just what I am.” “We go down into the water” (and water is always mysterious and destructive) so that we “watch [our] great illusions drown.” We find out who we are.

Today we walked into the foothills, into a new country, a place with trees and stone instead of open fields of grain. It all looked and felt very mysterious. (It is said that the place we are entering even has some Celtic heritage and roots.) We kept walking and walking into the mist (a kind of water), not knowing what was ahead. We climbed up and up—again reminding us that were were entering a new land. When the sun finally broke through, it all looked so different than what we had been seeing for the last ten days. There was a beauty, a relief, and a wonder.

We are on the threshold. The entry to the final third of the Camino. We have about 150 miles to go. You might remember that it is said that the final third of the Camino is for the Spirit. We will see. We are on the threshold of our hardest day, as we will be walking over 20 miles tomorrow, a good portion of it uphill. We are at the doorway of an important site on the Camino, one of the highest points. It is the place where the Cruz de Ferro (cross of iron) is erected, the place where most pilgrims will place a stone they have brought and carried with them the whole journey. (I will say more about the symbolism tomorrow.) As if to emphasize all this, the church here has a special evening service, where the local brothers will sing 30 minutes of Gregorian chant. For me, not knowing the language and only able to connect to the tones of that chant, that will feel like mystery.

But really—whether we feel mystery or not, whether we have a hard or an easy day ahead, whether we are chanting or doing math—aren’t we always on the threshold, in the doorway, entering a new reality? I just want to be awake to it.

Song: Dweller on the Threshold

Author: Jim Zazzera

I find myself thinking about the past, wondering about the future, and doing my best to live in the present.

5 thoughts on “Dweller on the Threshold – Astorga to Rabanal”

  1. Beautiful pictures! It’s hard to believe you’re almost done! Prayers for safe travels as you begin the treck up hills. John and I so enjoy your blog, thank you for sharing every day. 💞

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  2. Thank you for this! For the photos, for the lyrics, for your thoughts as you go…. for sharing with me something I will never do myself. It’s like reading a mystery and wondering what happens next…quite the page turner! I’m sure you brought a stone and can’t wait to hear about the symbolism. Praying for the Spirit to carry you up that hill. Rock on 🎶❤

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  3. Last night some women began a Bible study called “The Quest”. I couldn’t help but think of you and Lena on yours. One thing the speaker said was that “mastery means there is no longer mystery”. I thought that quite profound as often it is mastery of God, of prayer that is something we often strive to attain. Surely in doing so we will have crossed that “threshold” and “be in darkness no more”…Right?
    I am grateful for your open eyes and ears, open hearts that await the next mystery God will reveal to you. May this quest of faith be deepened as you seek to perceive all God has for you. Praying the love of Christ over and through you. Claire

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