There's a birthday during the fifth stage

09 April 2022 22:25

A few years ago, someone told me that I should spend more time with people who matter to me. At first I didn't understand what he meant by this. I asked about it, but the answer was that the answer would come my way. I have now found the answer. It is a very liberating answer that provides a lot of depth and connection with others in my life. But it also made room to fill the void that was there with positive energy. Friendship was also today's theme. Because the bus is late, we listen to the podcast ‘Luisteren met Jezus’ in the lobby of the hotel. The podcast I think fits well with today's theme 'Love for your loved one and friends'.


After the podcast is over, I'll tell everyone what friendship means to me. For me, friendship is daring to ask questions in situations when you don't understand something or whose facts you don't know (all of them). Being open and honest even though this may pull you out of your comfort zone or accidentally step on the other person's toes. Listening to the other person without taking up space, something I sometimes forget because of my enthusiasm. Recognizing and admitting your mistakes, no matter how difficult that is sometimes. Another feedback or a compliment and receive this with open arms. Each and every one of them contributes to a good friendship and the growth of a real friendship.

In addition, there are two types, a short and a long-term friendship. In my view you experience different phases in your life and that includes people who are passing through and others who sometimes even travel on the same track until you die. You may bump into the ones that are passing through or they will disappear forever on the horizon, leaving only memories and insights.

Flexible start

Because the bus is late, we miss the ferry from Gorinchem to Woudrichem at 09.15. We decide to be dropped off in Woudrichem, because otherwise we have to wait over an hour in the harbor for the next ferry. It must be so, because now we also see the historic city center of Woudrichem. The skipper of the ferry then puts us on the other side and we walk towards Loevestein Castle. The clouds suddenly form together and we quickly put on our rain gear. Fortunately, the shower is short-lived and the sun's rays quickly reappear when we pass Loevestein Castle and continue our way along the Waal into the Bommelerwaard.

Warming up and obstacle course

Suddenly I realize that a number of them are walking very far ahead, but that while plotting the route I can't remember that the distance was actually that far. I quickly shout that the group is too far. Fortunately, it does not take long before Aris, who is leading the way, is reached. When we are all back together and on the right track, there will be a sign that reads: 'Walking path closed'. We had never seen it like this before. There is a detour, but I really don't want to be put off by a few fallen trees during the storm a few weeks ago. I notice I'm not the only one. Fortunately, Henk is there who thinks this is the right time for a few stretching exercises. This gives me time to think about what we're going to do. Take the risk or choose the safe route. After the warming up we see three men walking towards us on the closed road. Of course I ask them whether it is all as serious as the sign describes. It seems to be some climbing and clambering work, but doable. I ask the group who finds it annoying to choose this path after all. It's still quiet, so here we go. It's like an obstacle course with all those fallen trees and the child in us comes out.

It is someone's birthday…

This morning Roderick and I were deliberately a bit late at breakfast, because when it's someone's birthday they have to sing. It's best if you come in last, because then there is the greatest chance that most people will be there and you will get everyone on board. Upon entering, I looked where Karlien was sitting and I played my well-known song 'Ei, ei, ei! We are so happy..” in. It lights some up and I give Karlien a big pat on the cheek. But it doesn't stop there, because a birthday comes with a treat, so as soon as we have left the obstacle course, Roderick is ready with filled cakes, coffee and tea. Hans once again puts in a 'Long may she live..'.

Along the river Maas

The rest of the day we walk for the most part along the Maas. The fatigue and the first aches and pains are now slowly floating up in everyone. Shoes are taken off during the rest points, braces or sports tape are applied around the knees and our brains sometimes work less quickly. Bernie doesn't come up with names anymore. I see we're going wrong, but just follow the crowd. Or they stare into the distance when asked. We continue to talk to each other, but even there I see some silences falling here and there.

Picturesque Heusden

When all three of us have taken the ferries, the last steps are taken towards Heusden. It's cold and the wind blows hard, but we persevere. Some people choose to walk the short route to the parking lot. Others follow the route I have mapped out. When I walk in with Corine, Conny and Aris Heusden, we see other pilgrims sitting on the terrace with Roderick, but we continue to wait for the bus with the group in the parking lot. When I walk through Heusden I thoroughly enjoy it, because it is always beautiful here.

Listening to Sander together

Tonight we can be heard in the radio program 'Zin in Weekend' by Sander de Kramer. We therefore decide to listen to the item about 'Walk for Homs' during the drink offered by Karlien for her birthday. Every time we recognize a voice from one of the pilgrims, an enthusiastic sound is heard and we all stare at this person until the next voice comes through the speaker. It has truly become a beautiful item and therefore a great moment to end the day together. In the evening everyone goes their own way or eat together and then go to bed on time. After all, tomorrow is the last day and longest walk we will walk.