Mon., Mar. 12, 2018
Exodus 20:8 – Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Sometimes, we just need a little Sabbath. A time when we intentionally slow down, stop the busyness and explore life in a different way. When we remember whose we are and who we are.
Recently, Rick and I returned from some Sabbath time. Usually, we fly somewhere with warm weather in January. Occupied by other things in January, we opted for a driving Sabbath this March. Some 2721.7 miles later, we were back refreshed and appreciating many things.
We began by driving to Dauphin Island, AL to meet up with our friends, Mel and Ruth Ann. They spend six weeks of winter Sabbath on the Island. We visited them. Since we arrived at their condo after dark, we could not fully appreciate the sand and ocean until the next morning. It was wonderful to walk barefoot along the beach, stick our toes in the gulf water and be intrigued by the countless things on the shoreline, including Jellyfish.
After worshipping at the Dauphin Island UMC on Sunday, we spent much of the afternoon at the Bellingrath Home and Gardens. Developed by Walter & Bessie Bellingrath in 1935, their home and gardens started as a fishing camp. Today, they are an exquisite grounds reminiscent of when the Bellingrath’s lived there. The thousands of blooming azaleas made the stop even more impressive.
Our friends agreed to spend a few days with us in New Orleans. Over 25+ years ago, I visited New Orleans. The French and Spanish inspired architectures continue to impress. Our first stops included the open-air French Market and Jackson Square.
New Orleans is home to a World War 2 Museum. While we spent several hours taking in exhibits, we could have spent many more. Instead, we hopped on the St. Charles Street Car and rode through the gorgeous Garden District. We walked through a cemetery and enjoyed spontaneous jazz musicians on Bourbon Street. I couldn’t leave town without some traditional crawfish boil while Rick opted for local shrimp.
The next morning, we stopped at Café du Monde for beignets and chicory coffee. They were BETTER than I remembered. The atmosphere was enhanced by local jazz musicians.
We all wanted to visit the Lower 9th Ward, which sustained significant damage from Hurricane Katrina. We walked through the little Living Museum where we were able to visit with a local resident who lived through Katrina and the aftermath. She is working to encourage families to resettle the Lower 9th Ward, as many have left. We drove by empty lot after empty lot, sometimes with only the cement steps from the previous home remaining. Yes, there are new homes and homes that have been repaired. Even on the day we drove through, we saw homes with tarps and boarded up windows reminiscent of Katrina’s damage.
Since we had all been involved in Katrina relief work in Biloxi, we stopped there as well. Mel and Ruth Ann have visited Biloxi several times post relief work. While the local economy is rebounding, there are still open areas which have not been redeveloped.
Before leaving Dauphin Island, we toured Fort Gaines, part of the local Civil War history.
Then, we drove to Laurel, MS. Recently, I have followed the HGTV show Home Town. We arrived at the store owned by Ben and Erin Napier and their friends five minutes after closing time. I inquired with the ladies leaving the shop where we would find some of the historic homes which have been remodeled. Since we own a 110-year-old Victorian Farmhouse, I am intrigued in seeing how other people have updated older homes. We drove through the streets of Laurel, looking at old homes, until it was dark.
We also drove through an area Rick wanted to see: the Mississippi Delta. We picked out rural Mississippi roads and drove right through the heart of the Delta. With overflowing river banks and a seemingly challenged local economy, we felt we had taken a step back in time, minus the modern combines, planters and tractors. Rick hoped we would see cotton being planted but it was too early. We did see one tractor smoothing out last year’s cotton plant stubble on the mounds of dirt where the plants grow.
I type these words on a Sunday, the traditional Sabbath day of the week for Christians. Both Rick and I worked today. Yet, we loved several days of life with little set schedule: eating when we wanted, walking for hours and reading a devotion book in the car as we took in the scenery around us. We deeply appreciated Mel and Ruth Ann’s hospitality and their willingness to explore New Orleans with us. We return to regular activities this week. Yet, we will be sustained by extended Sabbath time with our Lord and with each other. And we are more committed than ever to make extended Sabbath a part of our lives.
Somehow, Lord God, you know we need Sabbath. Thank you for allowing us to enjoy a period of extended Sabbath. Your creation, the history around us and the friendships we enjoy always continue to impress us. Thank you. Amen.
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