Dreary to Cheery

Posted on Posted in Ruminations, Updates

It was hard to get moving this morning. Despite plenty of sleep we both felt tired and grouchy and somehow at a loss to find the passion and enthusiasm that got us doing this in the first place. We were temporarily distracted from our bad moods by our visit to the St. George Church, which boasts a gorgeous organ loft and some fascinating specimens of early Protestant church art, one a death memorial painting with what appeared to be the owner’s own skull and crossbones.

Then it was off into the drizzling rain again. It didn’t rain that hard, or even for the whole day, but the clouds hung low and gray, and when you spend a lot of time outside your mood tends to reflect your surroundings. The Jakobsweg looked a bit meandering for our taste—we were also mindful of the fact that our next two days will be quite long—so we decided to be old-fashioned and use a real paper map to cut some corners. This wasn’t necessarily a more authentic Luther experience, since all he really needed was list of cities to pass through; there was rarely more than one road between towns, which greatly reduces the chances of getting lost, and said roads were not populated by noisy speeding cars, prompting the desire to find some alternate route. But since we have GPS-ed it most of the way, it was a different sort of experience. It also meant we got lost once in the woods. Being lost in the woods, in the rain, walking uphill, is not exactly a mood-lifter either.

Once we re-found ourselves, we were on the other side of the Ries crater and over the rim. We discovered a hikers’ hut and stopped for awhile to cook some hot lunch and regain our sense of purpose. This was a mild success and the rest of the afternoon’s walk, though still drizzly and not terribly fascinating, was at least not the oppressive burden that the morning’s walk had been.

At the end of the road was the Abtei Neresheim, a Benedictine cloister that has the distinction of giving us our first pilgrim-passport stamp. (Presumably we could’ve gotten them elsewhere, but we’ve honestly had no idea where to go or whom to ask.) It’s a large and bustling place with bright white rooms, abbey honey and beer for sale, and a seasonal kitchen with the adorably named Pfifferlinge mushrooms on the menu. After dinner we wound up at the abbey church for Compline: Baroque again, but with more restraint and soaring lift—I was particularly impressed with the enormous free-standing pillars between the nave and chancel. The church suffers, unfortunately, from appalling acoustics, so we listened to the monks pray once and then a second time in the echo.

Here’s hoping that tomorrow gets off to a better start. Your encouraging comments help us re-focus and carry on, so thanks to everyone who has taken the time to write us a note. We’re always glad for more!

10 thoughts on “Dreary to Cheery

  1. I’m sorry for you that you had to go through so much rain, bad weather and problems to find your way today. I can guess how it feels… But be confident, what you’re doing is a great adventure, even in the rain 🙂
    Je vous souhaite plein de courage!

  2. Best wishes to you on your fascinating Lutheran Ecumenical Pilgrimage, from Erfurt to Rome. You have been able to combine Christian ecumenical perseverance with our most modern means of communication to thousands of us who will walk with you in our imagination and in prayer. A friend of mine and I bicycled around Europe in the summer of 1951 and we stopped at Neuendettelsau. I still have a small wooden carved statue of Christ with a chalice from there. Thanks for bringing all of this back to Augsburg College. Sincerely yours, Gene Skibbe Professor Emeritus

  3. I forgot to mention the great pictures you post every day. Some of them are classics. You must have had some photo training at one time in your life. Maybe someday you could put them in a book.

    Eugene Mossner
    Saginaw, Michigan

  4. Hi Sarah,
    We met at Holden a few years ago. I’m delighted to see what you are up to. I’m such a Luther geek and a big fan of ecumenism as well. What fun to combine the two! I wish I could drop in to hike with you for a day or two.
    You are in my prayers as you peregrinate (if it’s not a word, it should be!).

  5. Please know that there are people(me for one)who very much appreciate this journey that you have undertaken, and appreciate you for allowing us to see it, and are praying and cheering you on. I can’t even imagine, but I wish I was young enough to do this! Thank you!!! You are in my prayers. God bless your journey.

  6. I am a friend of Erin Bowers and started following your travels because of a posting she had done. Your pictures are wonderful and the daily “lessons” thought provoking. I particularly like that the Scripture passages are short enough that I can remember them and bring them to mind several times during the day. Looking forward to meeting you at Lenoir Rhyne in November.

    Sorry the rain gets to you, but cut yourself some slack. It is OK to be human.

  7. “It’s OK to be human!” Amen! What a wonderful concise summary of Luther’s theology that is, when coupled with the counsel, “Let God be God!” Onward, Christian soldiers! We are singing to cheer you on your way.

  8. The moods you’re experiencing are the same as those we experience during our daily journeys, right? As it is put in the daily prayer book I use, for Wednesday mornings, “Eternal God, you never fail to give us each day all that we ever need, and even more.” How joyful life would be if I would simply know that, each day, and look for that …

  9. Paragraphs 2 & 3 of this post remind me more of Pilgrim’s Progress than Luther’s Journey. Have you associated any of your challenges and adventures with that classic?

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