On the Road with Sue and Ted

On April 14, Ted and I left Harrisonburg, VA and headed west. We have enjoyed spring in Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan while traveling approximately 2,350 miles in a month’s time. In our almost 33 years of marriage, I don’t think we have ever spent so much time together (literally 24/7). Ted recently asked, “Can you do this sabbatical thing every year?”

Eastern Mennonite High School graciously granted me a sabbatical for second semester. I proposed that spending time in an urban setting would enhance my teaching in both English and Bible classes (by experiencing faith “on my shoes,” reading young adult literature, going to plays, etc.). Our home base has been Community Mennonite Church in Markham, Illinois. We have enjoyed being involved in church life on a daily basis as we are living in the building. Although we offered our gifts to the congregation and conference, we have been the recipients of countless blessings, generous hospitality and open arms.

Living away from home and routine has truly been restful and refreshing. I love not setting an alarm clock. I love learning the city of Chicago and doing touristy things. I love finding local foods to eat. I love that you can get discount tickets in Chicago theaters if you call the day of the play and they have unsold seats. I love digesting books. I love that we are only two hours from Goshen, Indiana (where we headed three weeks in a row to attend college graduation, spend time with extended family, friends and our youngest son, Derek, before he left for Peru and to attend a wedding). I love viewing Lake Michigan from both sides. And I love being with Ted.

We just spent six days in Canton, Michigan, where Ted performed Tattered and Worn with Jeff Raught six times for St. John Neumann Parish. The shows went very well, and it was nice to have a run of this fairly new play (I even suggested a few things to try in the show). I rarely get to travel with Ted during the school year, so it was a treat to see him in “his world” for almost a week. The congregation treated us royally. The staff recommended local points of interest to explore during the day and took us out after many of the performances. We soon made many new and wonderful friends in God’s family. Cindy, Jeff’s wife, was able to come with him, so the experience was even more special (Cindy and I were the “merch” ladies after the shows). The four of us have fun whenever are together. One morning we toured the Henry Ford Museum and saw an assortment of modes of transportation (including Charles Kuralt’s On the Road bus and the history making bus ridden by Rosa Parks).

Ted and I will be apart one week while I do a four-day silent retreat. He will concentrate on writing projects during that time. Our final days away from home will be spent in a variety of ways. In addition to catching up and saying good-bye to friends, Ted will do a show with Chuck Neufeld, we will see a Cubs game and hopefully do an architectural cruise on the lake, and we will lead a discussion on nonviolence at CMC. We plan to head back to Virginia on June 1. Sabbaticals are rich–I highly recommend them. Even if you aren’t in a job that offers the option of a sabbatical, hit the road (even if just for a weekend) with your spouse or someone you love deeply, and enjoy the ride.

Sue Swartz
writing for Ted & Co.

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