Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sometimes You Need

Sometimes you need to stop and remember that the greatest things in life aren't found in your computer but somewhere else. There are many ugly things in life - I won't list them here because my goal for now is to push them away and focus on the amazing. The look my grandchildren give me when I see them, the hugs, the simple way they speak of what is happening in their world...what they did in nursery school...who they saw, what they ate. The games they think of where the rules keep changing and it's your job just to play along. Today, it was to grab the towel that she held in front of her, sending her into giggles and cries of "again, again" only to have her fall into giggles again minutes later. 

It's there in the conversations you have with your children. When you listen to them speak. David was home for the weekend and spoke of what the coming weeks will bring, where he will be, what he will be doing. My brain tried to hold on to each stage, each step. But it is lost in the details when what is important is how he looks. He's so tall, so strong. Sometimes, I just need to look at him, to know he is home safe and will be again this coming weekend, if I can wait that long.

Sometimes...life is about just that - needing to stop and look and remember all the elements don't necessarily add up to the whole because too often, we are so busy seeing the pieces that we miss so much and so today, I looked around and began to think about all the many facets of life we forget to remember, forget to be grateful for, forget to see.

It's watching the joggers run down Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, watching people shop as if there is nothing wrong, no dangers, no worries. You see them every morning, running almost effortlessly as you walk to work.  You see the stores filled with people each and every day.


It's hearing about the heroes...the endless heroes, who step into danger and save lives. You see them every morning, standing on guard. They smile, answer your greeting, and continue to watch.

And it's about the train making its way along the ridiculously short track that disrupted the city for years and now feels as if it is the most natural thing in the world...as if it had always been there and has staked a permanent place in our daily lives.

It's about the young girl who gets up to give you her seat...when you're tired and you feel bad, but you really would like to sit down. It's taking that moment and helping an older man by carrying his walker down the steps and waiting at the bottom while he slowly makes his way down.

And it's about watching your children creating their own lives way sooner than you were ready to have them do it. Seeing them become a mother or a father...listening to them reason with their children while you get to sit back and smile because you don't have to worry about getting them to listen, to behave.
 
And then it's that moment when your grandchild looks at you and reaches for you and the world is just right when they are in your arms, even though your children look at you because once again, you have aided and abetted the breaking of the rules they are working so hard to create and so you either smile and ask if the rules can be broken just this time, or you give in gracefully and step back knowing tomorrow, the child will try again.

And beyond your family, it's about the flowers that are blossoming as spring returns to the land. They are everywhere now and the colors shock you because you forgot how beautiful they were. It's been a long winter...and the land is returning to itself.

The flowers fill the streets on Friday mornings and the colors remind you that we are here in our land, alive and celebrating, growing anew, simply  loving the joy of being here.
Sometimes you need to ride on a bus and just look at all the people. So many languages spoken all around you - Hebrew, of course, and English and Russian, and Amharic, and Arabic and French and Spanish and German, and some I don't even recognize...maybe...or something else.

And the faces are so different, the skin colors in all shades from the darkest black of the Eritreans and Sudanese who came here as refugees to work, to the Ethiopians with lighter skin colors and less "African" features, to the Yemenites and the Arabs with their olive skin tones, to the Israelis of many generations who are not olive toned but not the lighter skinned tones of the Americans or Europeans, and finally to the palest of whites of Europeans who have been in the cold of winter and have come to enjoy our sunshine.

And the faces come in all shapes, the eyes all colors. And despite all the physical differences, there is a oneness that is shared simply by living in this land and knowing that we are here.

And there is the sun that shines brightly through the clouds and reminds us that we are protected from Above. Another stabbing attack averted; another that could have been so much worse, ended in minor injuries. There are still dangers here...every day...but there are so many who are watching and you grow tired of worrying, tired of watching your back and so this time, you don't.

Today, I rode the train and walked the streets and the sunshine was so bright, the flowers so beautiful, the smiles of the children so alive with joy that I realized I needed a day not to think but just to watch. A young mother got onto the train with a double stroller - one with a pink hood and one with a blue one. Two babies, infants...she spoke Hebrew with a young woman, while she kept one hand on the carriage near her babies. Another couple got on the train with a stroller and both husband and wife gazed down and smiled at the little boy as he drank his bottle. They spoke English to each other in quiet whispers as the train wound it's way through the center of town.

Three young teenagers were speaking in whispers in the seats across from me, the greatest of secrets that only they could hear. A policewoman got on the train and sat down with her phone; a guard from the train came on and walked the length of the train before standing next to another young man to begin a conversation.

It is Israel on a normal day that passes and we settle into a normal night. Somehow the darkness is a comfort, a gentle way to encourage us to rest. Tomorrow will come, the sun will shine. We will go about our lives in our land and handle what we must.

The ancient walls remind us. You were here thousands of years ago. You are here today. You will be here tomorrow and a thousand years into the future. Sometimes, you need that reminder, and Jerusalem is quick to give it.

Rest, Israel, because tomorrow is another day to conquer...and we will.






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