Olives for Hope

If the world is ever going to come to peace,
humanity can no longer be recognized 
on a case by case basis.


Five Hundred Ninety Six

Posted on May 7, 2011 at 9:53 PM


596 – that is how many individual pictures make up this mosaic (1000 total images). 596 moments from my trip to Israel / Palestine last Fall - 596 moments out of three weeks of my life. Most of them were taken in the Galilee – I guess because that was new to me and, like I have said before, how many pictures do I need to take of the "Wall" and of olive trees? But yet, it seems strange – 596 moments worthy of a physical record? Surely, there were more than that……

Early on in the trip, I went to the Mount and the Church of the Beatitudes. It is really the only ‘sacred site’ that holds much meaning for me in a personal sense…”Blessed are the peacemakers….” . I was torn between just absorbing the sensations and the emotion of being there, just experiencing that moment, or recording the moment with the camera. That is when Hanna, my host who had brought me, said “Cathryn, don’t be a tourist!”  (As I have said before, the people we find in our lives are no accident, and for this I owe him a big “thanks”.)

That was the, not so subtle, reminder I needed of my goal to live life with arms wide open, to be in the experience, not outside of it, looking in, a spectator. So that is how it began; how this trip ended up being the most personal one. Just allowing myself to experience each moment, to live in each moment, the good and the not so great, was an amazing (and hard) lesson to learn.  Although I have fewer actual photographs this time, than from past trips, my memories are that much richer and the photos I do have are that much more meaningful to me.

Just as the whole of the mosaic, like our lives, is made up of many different   ‘snapshots”, so is the gnome. And like the gnome, we are all made up of snapshots of time.  The good, the sad, the joyful and the embarrassing, we all have moments when we are not as compassionate as we hope, or as understanding as we should be, or react as we wish we would. But we are not defined by any one of those moments, those snapshots.

To measure you by your smallest deed, is to reckon the power of ocean by the frailty of its foam. To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the seasons for their inconstancy. - Gibran

We hope the people around us care enough to take the time to understand, and can see past those moments to the whole picture; but they may not. It can be very sad if they don't, and we have to decide whether or not that risk is worth being fully present; or do we choose to be tourists in our own lives – carefully staging each frame for effect. 

My friend Ron has also wriiten about the difficult process of living an authentic life in his blog; (http://ronirvine.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/fragile/)

But if the most important thing in life is love, and the heart of love is connecting with others heart to heart, then why do we spend most of our lives running from love . . . hiding from others . . . hiding our souls?

Seeking the truth, seeking love, requires that I live authentically . . .

Living life with arms wide open though is no easy thing and I often find myself wanting to close my arms, to put them in front, to feel my way along carefully, to protect myself. This last trip was my first conscious effort to let down that guard completely and, to be honest, my hands got slapped pretty hard, and I think I lost a friend. But I’m OK (I live, I love, I learn), there is always hope for tomorrow, and I can never go back to being a tourist.

Like Rumi told us, if we want to dance, we need to embrace the pain, and sometimes, even loosing ourselves in it;

Dancing is not getting up any time painlessly like a speck of dust blown around in the wind. Dancing is when you rise above both worlds, tearing your heart to pieces and giving up your soul.


Categories: Random Thoughts, Olive Harvest 2010