Saturday, October 23, 2010

Traveling Mercies

I feel like an itinerant scholar these days, teaching and writing far from my usual haunts. The last few weeks have seen me traveling up and down the Northeast corridor from Princeton to Washington DC, and as I write this, I am on a layover in London, en route to Singapore.

Several friends wished me "traveling mercies" before I left, an expression I first encountered in Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. I sometimes think of traveling mercies as just in time grace, and so often grace with a wry sense of humor peeking through.

There have been traveling mercies in my wanderings. A partial list of the ones I've noticed:
  • the young woman who helped haul my suitcase packed with books up the stairs on the Washington Metro (the escalators were out) and then blessed me
  • realizing that my passport had expired BEFORE I got to the airport (two weeks before, in fact - time enough to go into Philly, get it renewed and have lunch with a friend)
  • Math Man's willingness to trek across Philly to pick up the passport when it was ready (since I was off on another trip and stressed that picking it up 24 hours before I was due to travel was cutting it a bit close)
  • the kitchen staff who produced plain chicken and mashed potatoes when I was recovering from a stomach bug on the last trip
  • the young man who signed me into the college network so I could answer student email
  • an extra seat next to me on the plane to London
  • the bracingly hot and sweet cup of tea - real tea - the flight attendant produced in when I declined coffee
  • a moonbow - with a nearly full moon, seen from a bus as it followed its serpentine route between Heathrow terminals
Now having recharged my batteries (literally and figuratively) I'm off to see if I can find the gate for my next flight which boards in about 3 hours and a new watch - mine having come into two pieces midflight (!).

Photo is of the front door of Eastern Point Retreat House. I had a couple of hours or so to wait until my taxi came to take me to the train station, but grace descended in the form of another retreatant's sister, who lives in Gloucester and wouldn't hear of my sitting there. I got a ride to the train station and brief tour of Gloucester along the way. Traveling mercies.


  1. Blessings aplenty! Loved reading about them.

  2. Sounds wonderful! Can't wait to hear about the ones in Singapore.

  3. With you!

    Thanks to you, I want to know what a moonbeam is. Wikipedia was unhelpful. A beam of light which appears to touch the ground?

  4. Already a wonderfully amazing journey!

  5. Flacie...a moonbow (poor editing skills at 3 am body time, alas), a rainbow made by the moon instead of the sun!