Dreamers and Seekers

A lake, a monastery, and roads not on the GPS

May 23rd, 2009

We’ve had a busy two days! Since we didn’t blog yesterday, I’ll start by reporting on yesterday. Then Sarah will pick up with what we did today. So yesterday morning, Deb made us a cheerful breakfast of strawberries, yogurt and muffins before we hit the road for Erie, PA. For the first time on the trip, Sarah drove! And she passed people on the highway! And we survived! We were very proud of her. (Sarah’s paranoid of highway driving).
In Erie, we went to Pesc Isle State Park on Lake Erie. We walked around the paths along the lake, enjoying the ocean scenery and the birds. For lunch, we climbed over the sand dunes and ate on the beach. It wasn’t quite as scenic as we had hoped because in front of our picnic tables were bulldozers moving lifeguard stands around. Oh well.
Then we headed downtown to meet Sister Susan, a member of the Benedictine community in Erie. She works for Sister Joan Chitistter, an author we wanted to interview but was out of town. Instead, we made plans to meet Susan, who kindly showed us around the monastery where she lives and the preschool program the sisters run downtown. Their community focuses on peace issues, which is what Sister Joan writes about often. We had planned to stay for their evening prayer service, but since a sister from their community died last week, the service turned into a funeral. So we sat through an unfamiliar liturgy for a woman we didn’t know, but the sisters were so kind and helped us feel as comfortable as possible. They answered all our questions and filled us with spaghetti and lemon pie before we left.
Driving away from the monastery, we had a chance to discuss what we had learned about monastic life (it’s about prayer and deeper spirituality, not asceticism) and Catholicism (its liturgy reminds us to revere our awesome God even if it’s not “trendy”). So even if we didn’t learn about Sister Joan’s vocation as an author as we had planned, it was enriching to share an afternoon with the “religious.”
We had a long time to talk as we drove that night to Toronto. We’ve also been reading books out loud in the car to pass time. Great stuff, like the Messiah College literary journal and religious poetry.
Also, here are some things we learned on our drive: Upstate New York has great rest stops because there’s only one for both directions of the traffic with a bridge for people to walk across the highway. So efficient! Also, the young blonde lady at border patrol scared Sarah, so it was a good thing she wasn’t driving then. Then, our favorite lesson. GPS and googlemaps do not work in Canada. When we crossed the border, the GPS screen showed our car driving into a black abyss. When we tried to use the printout of directions from Google, the mileage (or shall I say kilometrage?) was way off. Thank God for Martin’s (our Toronto host’s) brother who stayed on the phone with us for half an hour at midnight trying to guide us to their house. We got a good view of the CN Tower at night as we drove by it two or three times. At the wee hours of the morning we arrived in Toronto and had an easy time falling asleep.

1 Comment

  1. Cindy Smith says

    Does Sarah have something to hide? Border patrols are usually only scary if you have a guilty conscience.

    Have you tried updating the GPS on your computer? You may be able to get Canadian info.

    We enjoyed the Lake Erie picture.
    Keep having fun and driving safely.

    May 23rd, 2009 | #

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