My First Orthodox Pilgrimage (Part 2): A Bad Blessed Bus Trip

( I actually typed this up on the way to Kansas City.  There is quite a bit of moaning an whining.  You may wish to skip down to the “REFLECTION” at the end of this post )

8:40 pm/9 October/Richmond VA

I think the Roman Catholics are right about Purgatory.  I have found it.   The Richmond Greyhound Bus Terminal waiting for a midnight bus to DC and Baltimore.  There cannot be too many more jacked up situations than where I am now.  I didn’t want to impose on anyone too much.  So, I asked my sister-in-law to get me here around seven.  We had a nasty little Nor’Easter  hit us and she doesn’t drive in the rain too well at night.  So, I will be waiting for a while as dude with the big floor scrubber does his thing and there is darn near nobody around.

Gina did hook me up with some sort of pumpkin spice bread.  I paid way too much for a “Powerade.”  These metal seats must have been part of the Spanish Inquisition.  Uncle Bob used to denounce Greyhound as a low class airline.  Chances are the Huxtibles would not be caught dead around here.  But, I paid half of what a plane would cost and dealt with no freaky airport security x-ray machines showing my butt naked body to some guard.

But, I can’t complain. The fact that I can afford to go to the conference is a blessing.  Plus, I got my wife a set of teeth.  The refund check was a gift that I was not looking for.  I probably could and should have spent the money on a couple of other things around the house.  But, next year’s conference will probably be in Oakland or somewhere else too far to travel.

The wi-fi sucks!  I can’t get on Facebook.  Yeah, this is Purgatory.  I will have to make the  best of it.

5:35 am/10 October/Baltimore, MD

I thought Richmond was bad.  At least Richmond hand a restaurant.  Richmond, not considered a pro sports city, has a much larger terminal than downtown Baltimore.  Both terminals have me more than a bit disappointed in how the customers have a choice between these horrible metal seats and the floor.  I am not saying Greyhound should provide us with Lazy-Boy recliners and sofas.  But, these seats offer no comfort.  If the company is going to offer us slightly overpriced food (Richmond) or only vending machine food (Baltimore), they should give us some measure of comfort.  And yet again, NO FACEBOOK!  THE WI-FI DOES NOT WORK!

St. Moses the Black

St. Moses the Black

2:44 pm/ 10 October/Zanesville OH

For every joy there is a frustration.  Between Frederick MD and Pittsburgh is some of the finest fall scenery I have ever seen.   And yes, Pittsburgh is the HOLY LAND with about 3 or 4 Orthodox Churches within sight of the interstate.  Actually, Wheeling WV and eastern Ohio are kind of nice too (not yet in Zanesville).  I am not sure how the area does in tourism.  But, I would definitely visit here.

I don’t think my laptop is allowing me access to Greyhound’s unsecured wi-fi.  This could be for my benefit.  So, I won’t cry about that.  But, once again, I am furious with the metal chairs in the Greyhound terminal in Pittsburgh.  Riding a bus is a more meaningful way of travel than flying.  You get to see the country at a slower pace than you do a train.  But, uncomfortable terminals and sub-par, overpriced food take away from what should be a nice experience.  Again, I liked what I saw of Pittsburgh outside of the Greyhound terminal.  It really seems to be a nice place to visit even if you don’t like sports.  But the terminal was just another place where Greyhound must improve.  Next year, if I go anywhere, I may check out Amtrak for an unadvertised early bargain.

REFLECTION

A couple of people at the conference (somewhat jokingly) called my journey on the bus ascetic.  When I think about the saints who lived in deserts, ate dry bread, and dealt with worse conditions than mine; yeah, I seem like a cry-baby wuss.  Jesus told us to deny ourselves and carry our cross.  Following Jesus does not always happen in times or situations of comfort.  People who only want to move with a savior that calls them to creature comforts of life are missing the point.  We are to pursue the Christian faith, we have to learn to endure hardship and accept sacrifice.  No, not everyone is going to be a St. Anthony the Great (he gave up a life of wealth to move out into the Egyptian desert to live a life of prayer).  But things like maintaining a discipline of prayer and fasting helps us remember what our Lord has gone through for our salvation.

So, I will put some “Ben-gay” on my back again and be grateful for the journey.  Not just going to the conference.  The journey of Christianity is to walk through this strange land we live in knowing that we are citizens of the greater and eternal kingdom.  May I live like such a citizen.

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