“A Journey of Passion,” with Scott Nolte ’76
Amanda Stubbert: Welcome to the SPU Voices Podcast, where we tell personal stories with universal impact. Today we sat down with Scott Nolte, co-founder and producing artistic director at Taproot Theatre Company for 44 years. He recently retired. And in 2018, in preparation for that retirement, Scott took the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, the Way of St. James, walking nearly 500 miles in just 32 days. Scott, thank you so much for joining us today.
Scott Nolte: Yeah, it’s good to be here.
Amanda: Before we jump straight into the trip, give us a quick snapshot of the 44 years that you worked at Taproot. What’s a typical day or week for a producing artistic director?
Scott: It’s a fascinating thing to try to summarize 44 years. Of course, we started the theater during spring break of our senior year there at Seattle Pacific, and we’re blessed by the generosity and the guidance of our professors there. For the first half-dozen years or so, they really provided counsel and shelter as we tried to birth this vision. And of course now, these many years down the road, we’re grateful for our theater facilities, grateful for a staff that is as committed as we are.
And there were, like anything, I suppose, highs and lows. And in the arts here, I think you’re always in the startup phase, because it’s research and development, which is the rehearsal process. And then you’re in production because the show has opened. And then you tear down the factory and you make a new product. So whether it’s preparing the road company for tours to schools and churches, or the main stage getting plays ready for a six-week run, or classes that are two weeks to eight weeks, you’re always in this creative mode, and you are really joined at the hip with your coworkers to try to pull this off.
“In the arts here, I think you’re always in the startup phase.”
Even in the best circumstances, it’s a challenge for everybody to persevere. And that sense of perseverance is what I always felt was that if Taproot had a spiritual gift, it was perseverance. And as a theater hope, it really relies on that perseverance. So you accomplish that level of hope and hope fires your perseverance. And then you’re ready for the next set of challenges, because you have hope, you have history, you persevere, you make it again. There was always just a delightful challenge to our faith as well as progress that we made.
Amanda: Having also been a tiny little part of that process, I did work there for a few years, I think even at the lowest moments, the fact that you have brought hope to others keeps you doing the work.
Scott: Being a theater of hope was the… I’m going to say the motto. What do you want to call it? The byline of our… The subtitle of our book.
Scott: But it really encapsulates a lot of what we wanted to do. And if people couldn’t understand how our faith informed our production choices or our business model, they could deal with the idea of hope. And hope not being happy plays or always a happy ending, but in terms of even the drama, the tragedy of a play could compel us to live better. And so it’s not about feeling happy and smiley as much as it is how does the work inform people about how to live better with their neighbors, to live better individually with their families, and in our little tiny way, trying to make the world just a little bit better too.
Amanda: Well, and nothing affects us as human beings more than story. Read the Bible. We as human beings, that’s how we process information. And if we are propelled to change, almost always it’s through story.
Scott: Yeah. Jesus told stories, and he got irritated when he had to explain them to the disciples. And so the ability for the sense of play to… In biblical terms, maybe it’s like a parable because it’s not supposed to be decoded easily and it’s harmless. No, there’s some stuff that maybe its job is just to make a smile and laugh because we need it. And other times, maybe it’s supposed to bug us a little bit so that we go home and have something to process and to own our own discernment of what we heard and how it changes us.
Amanda: And the best stories of all are the ones where we see a different lesson at different times in our lives. We identify as a different cast member, if you will.
Scott: Yup, and the fact that you can go to a play and you can be confronted by people who are maybe not in your circle of friends. But how does it change your interaction with the people when you’re in line at Safeway or on the bus or wherever you are? Maybe it just lets us, gives us a tiny bit of insight into the people who are not like me. And if that is part of what happens, the safest way, the safest place to be bothered by people who are not like me, then maybe we are better prepared to interact with others outside of the theater facility, outside of that play. When we go home, when we go back to work, when we’re talking to our neighbor, I have a new insight.
“How does it change your interaction with the people when you’re in line at Safeway or on the bus or wherever you are?”
Amanda: And so speaking of going home after the play, 44 years from your senior year of college to now looking ahead at retirement for you and your wife, Pam, what made you think this pilgrimage would be a part of that process?
Scott: If I back this up to about 1996, I had gotten a last-minute call to come to Spain and teach at an arts camp out in the middle of nowhere, and I had no idea where I was going. I didn’t even have a passport. But anyway, I got a passport in a week and left. And while I was there, I had a marvelous experience teaching with a translator, and it was awesome. But we were in the city of León at this gargantuan, gorgeous Gothic cathedral, and some people with backpacks walked by. And so I said to my Spaniard friends, I said, “Do you suppose they’re hitchhiking around Europe?” And they went, “No, no. peregrinos.” And they turned their nose at this. I had no idea what they were talking about. Peregrinos didn’t translate for me. I had no point of reference.
Well, in 2010, a film came out called The Way with Martin Sheen, a film directed by his son, Emilio Estevez. And the gist of the film is that Martin is disenfranchised from his son. Martin is, I think he’s a dentist in San Jose or something. And he gets word that his son has died in Spain on the Camino de Santiago. Not a clue what this means, but he flies to… Actually, he starts in France, flies to get to St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port to retrieve his son’s ashes and belongings. And so it’s at that point he understands, what did his son do? His son was walking this trail to where? And he decides really spur of the moment that, “I’m going to do this.” And when I saw the film in 2010, I already had a passion for Spain in many ways. And then I recognized the cathedral in León and people in backpacks. And I went, “That’s who I saw all those years ago.”
Amanda: That’s what they meant.
Scott: “They’re on a pilgrimage. What the heck?” And so I became a Camino nerd and I started collecting memoirs and travel logs of people who had done this. And it became something that I just knew that I really, really wanted to do. And in 2016, 2017, 2018, there were just a lot of things that were coming together where frankly, how many more years do I have in me to lead the theater? I don’t want to dump the theater. I’m not against the theater. But how much more energy do I have in a sense to push this boulder uphill? And Pam said, “Well, maybe this is the year you should do the Camino.”
And so we worked towards me going in 2018. And the deal going alone, I didn’t go with anybody, didn’t have any friends I was meeting, is I basically could get up in the morning and walk for five to seven hours a day with just me in my head. And I could pray about the future. I could pray about every … Everybody I knew probably got prayed for daily, because you have all this time to just walk in the silence and look at cobblestone, medieval towns, or fields of alfalfa or corn or sunflowers, and just to reflect.
And so it really was a monthlong pilgrimage retreat to listen and to measure how I felt about what might be next. And I did come back with a sense of, at the end of 2020, that’s the end of what we should do. And I didn’t make that decision myself. I came back and Pam and I had talked about it some more. So I could say, “I think this is how God is speaking to my heart. What do you think, Pam? What do you think is next?” And we could come together and make a joint decision on that. But we concurred that that would be the process.
Amanda: Before we jump into your experiences on the trail itself, give us a quick synopsis. What is the Way of St. James? St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Scott: This is an 800-kilometer trail that I was on that goes from, France which is in the Basque region and cuts across, does a ellipsis, cuts down and then angles back up to Santiago de Compostela where, supposedly, the bones of St. James, the brother of Jesus, reside. And part of the legend of this is that James was a missionary to Spain. So after he died and was beheaded in whatever year that would be, he was buried and his disciples took him back to Spain. And there’s a legend of I think his body was on a boat that floated all the way upstream and then found itself in a cave. And his body was covered with scallop shells. But however it worked out, he is supposedly there. His bones are interred in the cathedral.
And so that it became a place of medieval pilgrimage, and when Jerusalem was no longer safe for pilgrimage, people had two choices. Were they going to go to Rome or were they going to go to Santiago de Compostela? And so there are in Spain 20 different trails across Spain that go all the way to Santiago. And there are trails that start in England that go all the way to France and then back into Santiago. So people have been walking this for a millennia, and it’s a thrill.
“People have been walking this for a millennia, and it’s a thrill.”
Amanda: What kind of preparation do you go through? Because you don’t just one day wake up and spend 32 days walking 500 miles. You have to prepare for this. What kind of preparation did you do? And I’m sure it’s physical, but also mental and spiritual. Because you don’t want to waste this time, and you certainly don’t want to give up halfway through.
Scott: Yeah. There are aspects of the Camino where it’s just flat across the plains of Spain, and then there are three or four mountain ranges, but they’re not like the Cascade Mountains or the Alps. They’re not as rugged as that. But they are… It’s like crossing Queen Anne Hill a few times. And so that’s just a long day. My first day was walking up Queen Anne for six hours, and so it’s brutal. And so yeah, the exercise for me was like, “I’m going to get used to walking every other day. And today, I’m going to walk five kilometers. But two weeks from now, I need to be able to walk 14 to 20 kilometers.”
I didn’t walk enough with my pack fully filled. I think I would’ve benefited from getting 18, 20 pounds in my pack and then just taking off, in addition to breaking in shoes and shopping for pants and shirts and underwear that you can wash in the sink and dry out overnight and take off again. The physical preparations apiece, I think like you say, the mental and spiritual preparation is something that I had in mind of what I’m going to do but I didn’t necessarily have a routine.
Probably, then this is trivia. When you get ready to do this and if you want a credential to prove that you did this, or credentials like your passport, Compostela says you did it, the credential office asks, “Why are you doing this?” There’s a religious reason, a spiritual reason, I think they called it athletic, like it’s a hike, and there’s other. The vast majority of the people are in this religious and spiritual percentage. And because it’s like doing the Appalachian Trail here in the US but with a place to stay and bars you can go to. And bars are the cooler cafes. It’s not like seedy bars climate, but it’s where kids are and their meal is served. So you’ve got food and lodging. Every couple hours, there’s a place to stop and rest. And so in Europe, you get a lot of more people who are doing this a week at a time, or they’re doing it for no reason other than the fact that, “It’d be fun to walk this and I have a place to stay every night.”
The people who are coming from South America, North America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, they’re there for the full meal deal and they’ve spent a lot of money to get there. So they’re likely doing it for a deeply personal reason, and they’re committed to the process. And the people that I’ve walked with, most of them were probably getting ready for a massive career change, life changes, health changes, death in the family, divorce. They were at some pivotal place.
And so the pilgrimage process, whether it was a Christianized reason, and I’m prayerful about this, or whether it’s, “I’m going through this rigor of a pilgrimage with a heritage of people having done this with intention towards change or resolution,” most people are there for a purpose. So I was in good company with people that, “I need to do this.” And so preparation in my heart that, “Here are the reasons.” My feet are finally ready, and my head and my heart are ready for why I’m going to do this and why I’m leaving home for a month, why Pam and I are choosing to afford this privilege to take off and spend the money to get there and back again, and walk for a month.
“My feet are finally ready, and my head and my heart are ready for why I’m going to do this and why I’m leaving home for a month.”
Amanda: But with a goal in mind, you have the goal of reaching the end, obviously within a certain amount of time. But what I hear you saying is that most people, including you, had a goal of some answers in mind that, “I’m doing this to strip away our modern distraction that keeps us from hearing from God and hearing from our own soul sometimes. And I’m going to put myself in a position where I have nothing else to listen to.”
Scott: Yes, yes, yes. And I think that the stripping away thing is I felt very much like the first third of the trip is disruptive, because you have to get up in the morning and start walking. And your mode of operation is walk, eat, sleep, repeat. That is your job. And for the first week or so, the rigors of doing this and being on your feet for six to eight hours at a time and not really knowing for sure where you’re going to sleep that night, but it’ll be in a bunk bed somewhere with 40 new friends. And again, that’s just the rigors of doing this. And it forces some of that personal choice again, even though you resolve, “I’m going to do this.”
Now, the rubber’s meeting the road and my feet hurt. And I think I only had one blister, but there are people who get blisters that get infected and then they go home early, or they blow out their Achilles and they go home early. And it’s subject to injury and disappointment and bad weather. And so you stick to that discipline of, “I’m here for a reason, and the reason is found through this process of continuing to be committed to this walk and the adjustments that I will discover. And then what do I do now that I find this new rhythm?”
Amanda: And as you said, you went on your own and yet you’re not alone. You pass people on and off throughout the time. And you told me that you had three other folks that you ended up together quite a bit. Can you tell us about those friends you met along the way?
Scott: Yeah. I met another guy. I actually met him on the first day on the van from the airport and Biarritz to St. Jean. And we didn’t really hook up again to continue walking and hang out until probably almost a week later. He was a retired guy from Northern California, really nice guy, really, really nice guy. And so I spent a lot of time with him then in one city about a week through the trip. Then the two of us then walked on and off with two women, one from Argentina and one from Malaga in Spain. And often, it was the four of us or two of us or three of us. And it was get the band together and then we break up, and the band’s back together again. And that was meaningful. It was meaningful to walk into Santiago de Compostela at the end of the trip with the gal from Argentina, because I walked in with a friend. And so that we had done this for a long time, so to get there and look at each other and go, “Dang, we did it,” was really significant.
On that last couple days, I met a young woman from Germany who was walking in by herself. But on the last day in, we left before the sun was up and so that it was dark and it was easy to get lost on the trail. And so the three of us stuck together the last bit. And so she walked in alone and she got no friend other than me, and I’m barely an acquaintance because we bumped into each other for the last 10 days. I remember going to her and saying, “Congratulations, Grina. You made it.” And she was just wide-eyed and gobsmacked that she had made it. But a big hug, and it was just so at least you could celebrate with someone who could pay witness to the fact that you got here. And you do form a bunch of different short-term friendships that whether you walk with someone for a day or because you’ve shared over a dinner or something at night or breakfast.
There was… I’ll tell you. I stayed at one place early on. It was new to me. I was in all by myself. And I had my book, my guidebook, in terms of, “Where am I going tomorrow? What am I going to see? How many miles?” And I’m sitting there at the equivalent of three picnic tables, but it’s inside, and so it’s like the common kitchen area. I’m just sitting, reading my book, and there’s a Portuguese guy over here. Probably he’s from Brazil, and he’s singing and making some kind of vegetarian pasta thing. And then there’s four German guys next to me playing cards. There’s three Japanese women who are trying to figure out how to use the microwave to heat up their dinner. And an Asian man sits down across from me.
The Asian guy has two hot dogs and a hamburger patty and offers me some. The Brazil guy raises his bottle of wine, wants to know if I want some. The three Japanese women ask me to help them cook their dinner in a microwave that all the instructions are in Spanish, and they want to offer me some of their wine. And no one speaks English. I tried to sneak a photo that I just felt like, “No, this is what heaven’s dining room would be like,” because I really can’t understand everybody, but I am surrounded by generosity. I am around people who only want to give me what they have, and it was just astonishing. It’s one of the high points. Again, I can’t talk to anybody, not anybody, and trying to figure out a Spanish microwave. Well, there aren’t two microwaves in Seattle that have the same instructions, so me trying to figure out a Spanish microwave was a comedy in itself. But I did get their dinner cooked, but it was a genuine highlight early on in the trip.
Amanda: Let’s skip ahead. You’re walking into Santiago at the end with your friend and then meeting up with someone that you’ve met along the way. When you go with this idea of spiritual, to hear from God, and maybe if it’s okay that I paraphrase, one of your motives is to hear from God about what’s coming next. Do you walk into the cathedral and think,” I got what I wanted,” or do you walk into the cathedral going, “Yes, I did it. Do I have what I wanted?” Sometimes when we’re asking for something from God, I think it’s rare that we have this 100% feeling of like, “Yes, I received it.”
Scott: No, that’s a good question. My prayer process and my reflection, like I said, I’ve got four to seven hours a day where it’s just me. Even when walking with your friends, you’re not necessarily talking all the time anyway. And so just in terms of being quiet with my thoughts and my questions, I did walk in pretty resolved that this is the direction to go. And like I said, and my next piece was, “Okay, this is how I’m feeling. And when I get home, Pam and I will have a longer conversation to trace this out and see if we’re both… Whether our parallel tracks are going to really connect and affirm each other in what this process will be.” So I was fairly certain that I had heard God’s affirmation of, I guess, “Well done, good and faithful servant. And here’s what stage three looks like.”
And being as young as I am, so retiring at age 66 but not wanting to stop working, but it’s more like, “Lord, I don’t know what the next chapter really looks like.” The things are going to change. And not knowing anything about such a thing as COVID-19 or a global pandemic, I had different visions for what I would be doing. But I felt like the end of the significant management responsibility for Taproot Theatre would end in 2020. That I felt was my answer from God.
“Lord, I don’t know what the next chapter really looks like.”
Amanda: Did you get any answers you weren’t expecting that maybe you weren’t even particularly asking for at the beginning?
Scott: Not that I can recall, whether part of that was my single-mindedness about this. I think with my experience with Taproot over the years, I had been surprised from being just a young, Free Methodist boy back in the day, to seeing how God is working in the lives of people from denominations or Catholicism and Protestant traditions, that it’s not just in my camp or inside my little church. Look how God is working in all of these people and look how they are speaking to me. Even the ones who are not coming from my Christian experience, look how they have served me. Look how they have helped speak to me to broaden how I understand how God ties us all together.
Now, say, even going back to that meal, I had no idea the spiritual affiliation of who was in the room, but the presence of these people and the virtue of generosity and joy that I experienced was like, “Good Lord, I just need to open my eyes and listen even if I don’t understand them.” I need to figure out how to listen and to just let this blessing wash over me and have the eyes and ears to see that.
Amanda: Yeah. Would you go again?
Scott: In a heartbeat. And where you spend the night most often is in a place called albergue [hostel]. And they are bunk facilities that are run by possibly the municipality, privately owned places that are a business. The Catholic Church has a lot of them. And the ones that are run by the parishes do put a call out for volunteers.
And so that as I have been mapping out the next third of my life, Pam at one point said, “Well, maybe you want to volunteer to be a hospitalero.” One of these people who sell finance to go over and be there for two weeks, and get up at 6:00 in the morning to get the place ready for the pilgrims to leave by 8:00, 8:30 AM, and then do the cleaning of the facility and get it ready for the next batch to arrive at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon, and be the sounding board for where can you find food or medical help or what’s tomorrow’s hike going to look like. Or just be the person who can listen to people who are, in a sense, having the same discoveries that I had. But I can be a conversation person just to listen and give affirmation or counsel. “Hang in there. I know your feet hurt. It will get better, promise. I promise.”
So I would go back. And like I said, I think there’s 20 or so in Spain and Portugal. Would I do the same one? Would I like to walk from Lisbon to Santiago? There’s some that stay closer to the Pacific Ocean, probably the Atlantic Ocean in Spain. And there’s one that cuts along through Portugal, along the ocean. There’s a bunch of different ones. And whether I have a month again or whether I have two weeks, I would go back in a heartbeat.
Amanda: To volunteer at one of the hostels and have two weeks, basically, two weeks of your wonderful dinner experience of that dinner in heaven? That sounds like heaven to me. I would like to do that. Not the walking. I don’t know if I would do the 500 miles of walking, but the hostel management, that I could get my head around.
Scott: There are… To get the Compostela, the certificate of a completion, you need to walk about 100 kilometers. And so that’s five days. And there are services that will move your luggage daily for you. You just book this carrying service and, “I’m going to be at this albergue or pension or hotel,” and they just move that for you. So that the last 100 kilometers, even the last 200 kilometers, you get more people who for whatever reason don’t have the physical strength to walk for a month, but they do want part of this experience of walking this historic medieval path and to walk through these towns and look into these small churches or grand cathedrals who have that same sense of the experience. And they say that, “It’s your Camino. It’s not my Camino. It’s your Camino.” So the best you’ve got is five days and someone needs to carry your bags, rock and roll, girl, because maybe there’s something that you would experience.
And in the back of my mind, I’d love to figure out how to create a model for what the pilgrimage stages do for you. And maybe your thing is, “I’ve got a week retreat,” but what is in there that’s disruptive? What is the pace that reforms your life questions or resolutions? And then what does it mean to walk it out? Because that’s the three stages of the pilgrimage as I had, is I probably came to that conclusion that, “This is what I need to do on day 25, but I still had 10 more days to go.” So now, I’m walking into my choices. Now, I’m walking into this new life rhythm which includes levels of hospitality and vulnerability and discipline that I haven’t had to have before.
“I’m walking into this new life rhythm which includes levels of hospitality and vulnerability and discipline that I haven’t had to have before.”
Amanda: Here we are at the end, like all the Bible stories. We’re at the end looking back over the success of this story. Did you ever get lost along the way?
Amanda: Did you have moments where you thought you might quit?
Scott: Terribly, really just one day that I had. I had a walk that was going to be about 32 kilometers. That must be 24 or 25 miles, something like that. And I’m walking along and I come to the fork in the road. And so I take a left and I started going this other direction. I walked by an albergue, which it looks like this big old house, and there’s all these pilgrims out there on the porch waving at me and I’m going waving back. Pilgrims are friendly people, so I’m just waving at them. And I need to go about four more kilometers to this other village and that’s where I’m going to spend the night. So I keep going and I get there and there’s not even a dog in this town. There, I cannot find anybody. It is like a ghost town. And I’m thinking, “Well, this doesn’t make any sense.”
So I get out my phone and my weather tracker also has a GPS thing. It says I’m in a town that I’m not supposed to be in. What the hey? What is going on? I get out my map and I took a wrong turn. I’ve got to walk back four kilometers and then walk about four kilometers back to the right direction. That was about a 40-kilometer day. By the time I got to where I was supposed to go, my feet were hurting.
Amanda: And so thinking back, do you think the pilgrims were trying to say, “Hey, you’re going the wrong way?”
Scott: I think so. They weren’t waving. They were pointing.
Amanda: Yeah, they were going, “don’t go.”
Scott: “ [inaudible 00:33:15] guys, good to see you. You’re friendly like me.”
Amanda: Isn’t that a great metaphor for how often we are just happily waving as we’re going completely in the wrong direction?
Scott: Yeah. And we don’t recognize the signals that, “No, you’re on the wrong path.”
Amanda: Oh my goodness!
Scott: That was the most drastic one. And there are other times where you may walk through some village where you cannot find the yellow arrows you’re supposed to track. And sometimes, there’s bronze scallop shells in the sidewalk. You’re supposed to watch for your markers. And if you don’t pay attention to those, then you are truly lost. And, spiritually, I had dinner with a guy who had been an East German soldier, and he asked me, “Does this mean anything to you? What’s going on?” And I went, “Yeah.” I think my spiritual experience is God gives us yellow arrows in life. And so it’s my job to continue watching for the yellow arrows. All I need is a direction and the trust that there will be another yellow arrow up ahead which will keep me on this path or will tell me when to turn. So it’s the trust that God wants me on the right path, and I just need to watch for his direction.
“You’re supposed to watch for your markers. And if you don’t pay attention to those, then you are truly lost.”
And this guy grew up in East Germany because his dad was on a bike trip without his family when the Iron Curtain went up. And so his grandfather, he never met his grandfather till the wall went down. And when the wall went down, the grandfather got the family together and they all went to church. And the guy I met knew his grandfather had been a prisoner of war during World War II in Russia. He was a German soldier during World War II, but he’d been a prisoner of war. The East German authorities had put him in prison so that when he packed up the family and drove west, it was to get out of what was East Germany before the wall went up.
And my buddy was like, “Grandpa, why do you believe in all this stuff? Because you’ve seen the worst of life.” And the grandfather was like, “Of course, I believe this. Of course, I do.” And the grandson in this case was explaining being walking in these cathedrals and he feels something, but he doesn’t know what it is. And so we had a great conversation, but the hook was watch for your arrows. Isn’t that God talking to you? Watch for the arrows. And I’m happy to say he wrote it down in his journal, but it was one of those interesting God moments that does happen to all of us. But in this case, it was me and… I can’t remember his name off the top of my head, and just what are you going to track with? Why are you here? And when you get home from this, what change will you go?
Amanda: Do you have your next adventure planned?
Scott: Not really. My pastor wants to do a hike from Munich to Venice that will go through the Italian Alps. And like I said, I’d love to do another Camino. And whether it’s one of the Portuguese routes or the ones across Spain, and whether I have four weeks or two weeks, I don’t really know. I did find that the act of walking is a really good spiritual discipline. And the fact that God moves at a walking pace, Jesus had to walk. You can only cover about three to four kilometers an hour. That’s about as good as it gets.
So to take off and do a walk, and whether I’m listening to a podcast or just alone with my thoughts, I’ve got a lot of donkey paths all over this neighborhood, and some of them are two kilometers and some of them are six kilometers. And I track it by kilometers now to just get out and again, have time to quiet down and be in my thoughts. They’re not as brutal as walking in the Pyrenees or across the Mercedes of Spain, but I found it probably one of the better spiritual disciplines I could have.
Amanda: Well, Scott I’ve had so much fun. I always have fun talking to you, but so much fun talking to you about your trip. But let’s end with our famous last question. From your unique perspective, if you could have everyone in Seattle wake up tomorrow and do just one thing differently that would change the world, what would you have us do?
Scott: I think I would want us to listen more. And especially us as Christians and evangelical Christians who presume we have answers and they are writ in stone and the application is writ in stone, it’s how to listen to other people’s needs or ideas and perspectives and how do we come alongside those things? Even when they’re off base, how do we come alongside and listen to the heart cry as well as the joy of others?
Amanda: My mom always used to say, “If traveling doesn’t humble you, you’re doing it wrong.” And I think that’s so true because like you said, you’re forced to work with, listen to others. And if you don’t, you’re not going to have the experience that you were looking for. And isn’t that what we all need more of?
Scott: The fact that in one of these albergues, one of my friends had horrible blisters, and people from all over the world were in that place and were coming with Band-aids or pins or techniques and ointments and stuff like that. It was, again, here’s where I would like to live with people who will give whatever they have to help you today. And that would be a whole lot better world. And look, like I said, even though we couldn’t understand each other, we were listening to the tone of each other, to the genuine generosity and compassion and the love that was in the room. And that would be a better world.
Amanda: Isn’t it interesting? I wonder if almost not being able to understand each other actually contributes to being able to interact in that way. Because when we can speak and communicate, sure enough, eventually we’ll say something that rubs each other the wrong way. But if we can only communicate on just a basic human level, maybe in the short-term, you might be a little better off.
Scott: That’s pretty vulnerable to really just ride on my weakness of being unable to understand anybody. To be that vulnerable, to give to someone or to accept from someone, is a pretty tremendous lesson.
Amanda: Amen, amen. Well, thank you so much, Scott.
Scott: This has been fun.
Amanda: Come back again soon.
Scott: Oh, after our next Camino.