Over the past few days, several things have happened that blended perfectly and sent my heart right back to Israel!
Although our trip took place over four months ago, I doubt I will ever be the same. The sights, sounds, people, landscape, historical locations. It all lives in me now. So much more than a trip; Israel is an experience.
And thanks to our wonderful congregation, Frank and I experienced it together!
I had started reading a biography of Elie Wiesel, the great voice for those who survived the Holocaust. "My goal," he wrote "is always the same: to invoke the past as a shield for the future..."
Banished to Auschwitz as a fifteen year old boy, Wiesel miraculously survived the horrors. He went on to travel the world; warning of the extreme evil lurking in man's heart when unchecked by a true moral compass.
While reading, I found myself spellbound by the descriptions of Jewish life, traditions and faith. As the author wrote about Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, I could clearly see the places they mentioned. Vivid memories of our own experiences washed over me.
Then a family friend came to visit over the weekend. Chad is a bright young man who studies people and politics. It's always fun talking with him; getting a peek into the thought processes of a young, twenty-something.
His first questions for me were about our trip to Israel. He plans to experience the Holy Land himself some day. So we spent over an hour excitedly discussing the April pilgrimage.
Aware that most people can only absorb so much of my enthusiasm, I would end each story with, "Okay! That's enough. I don't mean to bore you."
Then Chad would ask another question sending me off into "just one more story!"
The final marker was Frank's sermon on Sunday morning. He talked of David who dared to take on the giant, Goliath. It took all my "pastor's wife discipline" to keep tracking with the sermon.
In a split second, I was transported back to the hillside where Frank and I stood looking down on the Valley of Elah - the very location where the story took place. I felt the breeze and heard the birds chirping. Frank's voice rang clearly (in my mind) as he read the Hebrew/English version of "Hashiem's Divine Intervention."
Perhaps it's time for me to share some stories of those marvelous memories here. Brace yourself - I fear the dam of restraint may have broken!