2nd Dispatch from the Hills
This first part of Sabbatical was themed “Faith and Family.” If you followed Adam’s Facebook travelogue or the handful of posts on my author’s page, you’ve gotten a small taste. Thanks to the marvelous science of vaccination, our family was able to take our planned trip to Egypt and Cyprus with only a couple minor delays of one week and a day. What we imagined two years ago might be a fun, short, side-trip, became the main event – thanks to the generosity of congregation members who raised funds so our family could have an experience in Egypt. This meant so much more to our minds, bodies, and spirits than I could have imagined before we set out. I can’t wait to share more with you! We spent a week each in Upper and Lower Egypt, trying to absorb the many ancient intersections of history, politics and faith that offer deeper understanding of Egyptian, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths.
Although in Cyprus a lockdown limited our sightseeing opportunities during the next two weeks spent there, we enjoyed the slower pace. In addition to swimming and hiking, we spent time connecting to the history of the family home in Larnaca, visiting grandparents’ graves, learning family stories of migration and refugee experience, and serendipitously meeting an uncle’s high school classmate in a parking lot. We experienced Holy Friday and the late “Great Saturday” vigil service that ended Orthodox Holy Week with lighting the New Light of Resurrection – and some heart-stopping nearby fireworks. A Holy Week experience in another culture was one of my greatest hopes for sabbatical, and I am so grateful it was safe and possible this year. This month at the crossroads of Western Asia, Africa and Europe filled me (and our family) with so many experiences; It will take years to unpack and learn from the many gifts we received.
Snapshots (below): me at those Giza Pyramids, an unexpected swim in the Nile, all of us outside Abu Simbel, Adam and I deep in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Play Soundtrack on YouTube: “With Joy Draw Water” (can also be found in our UCC hymnal!)