We recently completed our “Middle America” tour and are taking a short break to be home in Minnesota for Easter and a wedding for a few weeks. In an attempt to share insight into our recent adventure, we figure our stays at a truck stop followed by a respite in a monastery best captures the last few weeks.
We do not profess to claim the status of Truck Stop Professionals, but we are getting closer! We have discovered there really is not a whole lot to do at a truck stop other than to sit at the diner (maybe play some cards or scrabble) and then retire into the minivan to sleep on a cozy little mattress that is made for one. Despite the blinding airport-like lights that shine the entire night, the incessant buzzers and dinging, and the frost that develops on the windshield from the inside, we actually sleep pretty well. We managed to rig some nice curtains made out of Luke’s flannel shirts and snuggled up close enough to share body heat- fortunately we are still newlyweds :). We make it sound like we are ready for the next season of Survivor, but rest assured, we are merely 15 steps from a clean bathroom, a driver’s lounge, a shower, and a 2-minute microwave for warm soup. Truck stops certainly make us cherish the freedom of a spacious living room, the joy of taking a shower, and the space
to cook a healthy meal. We already look forward to the upgrade of a tent now that it is getting a little warmer!
Following our truck stop stay, the Benedictines at St. Gregory’s University warmly received us. What a retreat! We were treated so well – we even got to stay in the Archbishop’s room. I joked with Luke that I was sleeping in the Archbishop’s bed, and he quickly coached me to be careful with how and to whom I said that to! We stayed at the monastery for 3 days and were invited to pray daily with the brothers and share meals and conversation with them. My greatest takeaway from my time there was the brother’s balanced life. The door at the entrance of the monastery has two stained-glass windows. One has the word “Labora” and the other “Ora,” meaning work and pray. The brothers devote their lives to both work and prayer. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
We cannot fail to mention the hospitality outside of the monastery as well. All of the residents of Oklahoma were incredibly warm and welcoming – it felt like we were in Minnesota with all the “Nice people!” One evening our new friend Steve brought us out and we ate more than our stomachs could conceivably hold, but we had a true experience of the Oklahoma culture- topped off with a banana split from Braums!
Taking a break at home is a great gift, but we already are eager for our next bout on the road. We will be heading south through Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and then we will venture up the East coast. We can hardly wait to discover whom we will meet, where we will stay, and what we will see!
We are so very grateful for all of your support, love and prayers!