2. I LOVE not worrying about how I look, what I wear, if my hair is in place when I’m on sabbatical. When I’m in Charlotte, if I wear jeans, inevitably I bump into someone who is compelled to inform me, “Oh, I see you’re wearing jeans.”
3. At home, I spend way too much time indoors, and in my car. On sabbatical, I’m outside, even if it’s pouring down rain or wicked cold, and every day I walk further than I’d walk in a month at home. Today Noah and I hiked to the top of the Devil’s Staircase – an arduous climb. Right after we took photos, it started sleeting. Then after 30 minutes of being pelted by flecks of ice, the sun came out and we were presented with a rainbow. My legs hurt, my shoes were soaked, mud everywhere, shivering, hands shaking… and I’m invigorated. I need to engage with and participate in the beauty and peril of God’s good earth in order to be more genuinely human.
4. We did something really hard today, and we have every day, trying to find places that aren’t on the map, ducking under “Trail closed” signs, climbing beyond weariness. I suspect that if we did things that were hard more often, we’d be better prepared when we were faced with something hard. Typically at home we cultivate easy, comfortable lives, and avoid the difficult. No wonder we’re not very adept at crises when they pop up. Ancient people had a huge advantage over us in this.
5. And finally, as I travel I witness everywhere the innate goodness in people. A waitress is patient with my fumbling to order food I’m not familiar with. Drivers look amused when I get on the wrong (that is, the right) side of the road. And a total stranger on the train overheard me saying I wonder why they don’t sell Hobnobs and McVities chocolate digestives in the U.S., and that I plan to take some home – and when we reboarded the train after a short break in Mallaig, he handed me a bag of Hobnobs and McVities.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll have another profound thought. If so, I’ll certainly write it down and tell you about it.