Norbertine Confreres and Chicago wedding guests thought it was a little strange that I could and would travel to Chicago in the morning, attend a Wedding Mass, reception and dinner and then travel back to DePere all in the same day. For many that seems too much time in the car. Folks at the reception seemed to have thought that Green Bay was a five hour drive from Chicago. Perhaps it is if you're stopping off at the Lakeside Marketplace outlet mall near Kenosha! But if you time it correctly with a full tank of gas, the commute is just about 3 straight hours X 2 ways = 6 hours on the road -- that makes for the perfect Sunday drive!
I've often said that I could have been a truck driver; I love being on the road! With the exception of getting pretty angry with those who drive rather gingerly in the left-hand lane, road trips result in perfect therapy for this extrovert. I compare car driving to mowing the lawn or running on the Fox River Trail -- it is a time for the mind to wander peacefully while simply daydreaming, creating homilies or cognitive concentration -- while keeping your eyes on the road, that is!
Sometimes the radio is on, other times it is off. Sometimes I am thinking of past events or I'm busily mapping out the future. Sometimes I'm focusing on the scriptures from the Lectionary (cradled on the passenger's seat) and sometimes it's just taking in the beautiful scenery as in the case of a Fall trip through the Menominee Reservation. And it never gets old!
Some folks were asking if I'd be taking some time off this summer. While I've had several invitations to join others on their vacations, I have not accepted any offer as of yet. But one thought does come to mind: Colorado Springs! While in priestly formation, I took part in a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program at the Penrose - St. Francis Health Care System at the Springs. For some reason, I have frequent recurring dreams of life lived at the foot of Pike's Peak. I suspect that these vivid dreams are recurring because it was a very intense summer back in 1992. Given the depth of experiences of working in Unit 4 (the regional psych ward) and being on call in the intense trauma center coupled with the soul searching that was a part of the facilitated group dynamic course load, I have many powerful memories of the summer of '92. In some ways, it's calling me back; albeit just for a visit.
If I would choose to go, I'd want to meet up with one of my host families, the Kirchers, and I'd love to meet up with the two congregations of sisters who sponsor the hospitals. And yes, I'd travel by car. And to repeat history, I'd have to pop in the audio book, "Single White Female" which I played on the highway, driving alone and in the dark on the original trip out of Colorado: arriving in DePere never felt so good!
If that trip does not occur, I'll continue to make the best of shorter trips between DePere and Antigo; DePere and Chicago; and DePere and the Twin Cities -- all for planned weddings and summertime family visits. Yesterday's drive reminded me that sometimes "the journey itself is the best reward!"
A true reward in Colorado: Finding Sanctuary on Sunday nights with Rector, Fr. Ted Haas and the parish community of St. Mary Cathedral in Colorado Springs -- a site that adds to my many great memories.