We have been back for two or three days. Somehow with the international date line, we may have missed a day. The last few days were a blur but I will try to summarize.
It was a great trip, a worthy trip, a life changing trip in ways that were unexpected. It’s not fair to say that I was a tourist, although I’m sure the visa made that distinction. It’s also true that I was not on a pilgrimage. The truth was somewhere between.
We did many things that are on the tourist list, the ruins, the churches, and the camel rides. We also made pilgrimages to places that we have read in scripture, and our intention was more spiritual than touristy.
Mostly it was about places and the feelings that came with it. Not very scientific, feelings are difficult to analyze. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was historic and important, the Garden Tomb felt right. I can’t prove that either is the absolute reality. Yeshua was buried somewhere, and rose as the Savior.
The walls of the city were impressive and evoked feelings, does it matter that most of the walls that we see are from the Ottoman Age?
The conflict between the Israeli and Arab citizens is real, does it matter that the living conditions are remarkably the same?
The Green Line to the north with Syria, and to the west with Jordan is quite distinct. Developed and green on the Israeli side, blasted and bleak on the other side. The land is the same, the people are mostly the same. Is it intentional? Is it the result of history?
I would have expected a Green Line in the Palestinian communities on the West Bank. We traveled several days throughout dozens of villages and I saw no physical evidence. Things seemed prosperous and normal. Was I able to “feel” a spiritual or political “Green Line”? Perhaps, or was it a preconceived state?
The last day was spent going to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. I have spent nearly fifty years reading about the event. Not every day, but certainly several weeks a year. I have at times lightly viewed all the available photo graphs, I have dived deeply into the written accounts. And certainly watched most of the cinema productions.
Still, being there in person, seeing what I have already seen, was overwhelming to me. I found that my steps were quickening, the displays were becoming more of a blur. Basically after three fourths of the display, I fled the building.
There were some things that I have not seen, but some were very familiar. I thought that I would have been inured, but I wasn’t. It was just too much information with no emotional break.
I’ve been told that anyone from another country, either business or political, cannot have a meeting unless first going through Vad Vashem. The country must be seen through the lens of the holocaust.
Fortunately the last stop on our tour was with the Joseph Project. This is a nonprofit that collects clothing, goods, and furniture to be distributed to all who are in need, regardless of political, religious or cultural differences. Most are brand new donated, some are slightly used, some things are broken in shipment and need repair, and some things can’t be repaired. We sorted!
It was very hot in the warehouse, I sorted boys underwear and kitchen items. It was wonderfully healing to give something back, and to bind the wounding of the mornings experience.
We had a farewell dinner in a Lebanese restaurant in an Arab village. Later we boarded a nonstop flight from Tel Aviv to San Francisco.
Apparently we flew over Greenland.