Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I just have to say that I really love Jerusalem. This didn't happen suddenly - it has been growing on me more and more since the day I got here. As I went to sleep last night I kept thinking about how sad I will be when I don't get to live here anymore, because there's no other place like this in the world.
It's no secret that I struggle with the conflict that goes on over here. But there's so much more to Israel than the conflict. So many of the people here are good, family oriented, religious people - both Jews and Muslims. I will admit it will always be hard for me to see them "fight" because I think they are more alike than they care to admit.
Last week I went to the mall with some friends. At one point I stayed outside of one of the stores with all our bags while my friends finished their shopping. As I sat there on the ground and allowed my poor back a much needed rest, I people-watched. My mom would have loved to have been there with me. Jerusalem people-watching cannot be beat.
I saw young religious moms (you always know if a woman is religious here by what, if anything, is on their heads) pushing their strollers around. I kept thinking, "We could be friends" because they reminded me of the friends I do have. I also saw older couples walking around holding hands, probably shopping for their kids or grandkids. I kept thinking, "Those could be my parents" because I could just tell they were loving, hard-working members of their family. It was as if, for that moment, God was allowing me to see them the way He does.
It's a strange experience to be constantly surrounded by people who are very different than me in so many ways, yet when I look at their faces, when I look in their eyes, they're just like me. Whether they want to claim me or not, they are all my brothers and sisters.
I had another moment like that today. I was out on my own (a good friend lent us her car, and another friend was watching the kids). I needed to run to City Hall to register Joni for Kindergarten. As I drove around the city, alternating between a Jewish station and an Arabic station on the radio, I looked around at all the people. I looked at the windows with clothes hanging out of them to dry. I looked around at the other cars, many of which had families in them.
I had one those moments where I knew we are all God's children. We all want the same things - love, peace, comfort... freedom. Not everyone has all those things here. But I sure wish they did, because I love them. We are more alike than I ever thought possible.