|Posted on October 1, 2011 at 3:15 AM|
Drama is to be expected when traveling to Israel / Palestine. You just have to hope that it is only the annoying variety (like a mosquito, rather than a wasp). Besides, a little bit of drama is good to wake us up! Mine started at the airport stateside. I thought I had plenty of time, several hours to get to the gate. I went to the lounge, wrote some email, got a sandwich, and strolled to the gate. I got there as the plane that had just loaded was about to shut the doors - The plane they had bumped me to, without telling me…. Last minute dash to my seat. Then we sat….and sat. There was “weather” near Philadelphia. In the end, we left at the same time my original flight was scheduled. Other than a luggage cart at Ben Gurion that hated me (seriously, I had to steer in concentric circles to move forward – believe me I had to refrain from using the more colorful Arabic I have learned!) the rest of my travel was pretty uneventful.
I think the luggage cart is a pretty good metaphor for the way I experience life, think and (hopefully) learn. I move forward in a broad arc rather than a straight line, then move back through some of the same “stuff”, hopefully picking up some new understanding, then arcing forward again, only to return once more, but hopefully ending up a little further ahead than before. It sure is a slow process, and it can be very frustrating. Just when I think I have “gotten it” about a particular situation, I feel like I am back in the middle of it – again. But I am finding that like when I stopped fighting the cart, if I surrender to that process, it takes me where I need to go, eventually. (And for some reason, I find that comes a lot easier here.)
The raw beauty of this place never ceases to make me pause. My apartment overlooks a valley - there is something very magical about listening to the call to prayer echo through the valley as the sun goes down. I have a lovely garden / patio where I can sit and relax. But, it does need a bit of clean up. So much here is like that - beautiful, but needs a little work. Nothing can be taken for granted here and everything you thought you knew is upside down. I was speaking with another staff member about how this place affects people. People either love it or hate it – there is no middle ground; but either way, no one leaves unchanged. You just have to let it ‘crack you open’. I hope over the course of the next months, I do not lose that feeling.