No Easy “Feet”…Inspiration for the New Year

the road is not kind

When I got on the phone with Ana Trnovec the day following her return to Slovenia after walking over 800 kilometers along the Camino de Santiago in support of Orchid I asked her about her feet because she had sent me an email with three days left of walking informing me that they were badly swollen and very painful but that she would keep walking anyway. Now a week later and finally at home she told me they had not improved and the doctors had scheduled tests for thrombosis and tendonitis One had turned into a fleshy stump not suitable to carry a flower much less a human being. In spite of this Ana was still energized and full of stories about her journey, the people she met, the joy and sorrow she experienced and the effect it had on her as a woman. She told me about how other pilgrims along “The Way” would recognize her from the Orchids of Light T shirt she wore and always stop to see if she was OK when they saw the damaged limb that carried her.

the memories are not all good

We reminisced about our time together in Nepal back in November and how the two journeys had challenged her and how they had been so different. I was surprised to learn that Nepal had been a greater struggle for Ana but when I thought about it for a moment it made sense; Nepal was the first time Ana had been exposed to the unexpected and she had arrived in the country with many expectations that never materialized, Nepal was part of the universe preparing her for the Camino. Along the Camino she used the experience she gained from the mountains of the Himalayas to live in the moment and let the river dictate the flow of her life.

It wasn’t long into our conversation before she was asking about me, how I was and how much money Orchids had raised during the campaign. I told her with great satisfaction that  many Orchid Roots had stepped forward and donated over $6000.00. It was a thousand more than our goal and 100% would distributed as grants to five of the communities we serve. Of course she was thrilled but she lamented that she personally didn’t raise more money than she did. She was sad she couldn’t do more.

I was taken a little aback by this amazing young woman’s words and listened quietly while she shared her wish to have made and even larger contribution. Finally I stopped her; I couldn’t imagine those devastated ankles and feet that needed medical attention doing any more. Her thoughts were not focused on herself in any way, Ana was instead only interested in what else she could have done. I reminded her that the full outcome of her effort was still floating in the Universe waiting to be born and that we might never see all the miracles she kicked up from the dust of the Camino.

“You did amazing things Ana Trnovec” I told her. “You are a limping miracle”. Just imagine; you and all the other people who joined the campaign have now started a solar project in Peru, a classroom for 70 kids in Colombia, a mentoring program for heart patients in Uganda and education for 4 children in Jaipur. Ana was the soil that roots had attached to and the results of her efforts were just starting to bloom.

Can you guess what Ana taught me? She taught me again that anything is possible, that reaching a goal just takes perseverance and the constant placing of one foot in front of the other, day after day even when that takes a feet” of courage. Ana stands among the amazing roots of Orchid, and they serve as a reminder that there is no “de-feet” while You are standing; and that there is only an end if we stop beginning.

it takes courage


celebration at the Cathedral de Comppostela



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