Since the whole thing began on Memorial Day (a holiday anyway), and Tuesday is my usual day off, the fact that I was on sabbatical didn't really sink in until Wednesday. And I was actually surprised at just how relaxed and relieved I felt! If I wasn't feeling totally "in need" of a sabbatical energy-level-wise a month or so ago, I certainly was after all the extra hours getting everything ready to be gone for 3 months! Wednesday I felt truly restful and grateful for this gracious blessing.
That Friday we began the first travel portion of the sabbatical, taking the train from Chicago to Spokane, WA, to kick-off our "Pilgrimage of Spiritual Home" ... Touring our roots out West, visiting family and faith communities that nurtured us along the way.
The first leg was to take a mode of transportation that would force us to rest! We made our way to Chicago's Union Station on the Metra from Grayslake, and then caught an Amtrak train to Spokane. The Empire Builder is a sleek dream, and we were blessed to have a Family Bedroom for the 36hr journey across Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho & in to eastern Washington.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the train--the space to move around, the time to relax, read, rest & play. Eliza especially loved that she got to sleep and eat on the train! :)
Seeing the terrain change along the way was a highlight for me, adding to the feeling of pilgrimage as we made our way to the Western regions that are both physically and spiritually-speaking "home" for Marla and me.
Crossing and then running alongside the mighty Mississippi...
Taking in the wide-open views and expansive skies of the Great Plains...
Gazing at snowy peaks as we climbed through the Rockies and passed within spitting distance of Glacier National Park...
And basking in the glow of the setting sun reflected in mountain lakes as the last evening brought us closer to our Washington destination...
We couldn't have asked for a more fitting way to acclimate to the sabbatical pace and transition to our new surroundings as we entered our time in Spokane.
I'll post some more reflections on readings, conversations and experiences in Spokane soon. In the meantime you can keep up with the next stages of our journey in real-time through my twitter feed (@lukehyder or #HyderSabbatical) and/or Instagram (same handle).
Grace and Peace,
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