I have just returned from visiting a dear friend in Israel. It was a trip originally planned back in March when I had just come out of a scary health crisis and wanted to make sure I fulfilled a promise to my far flung friend. As the date of my departure came closer, the travel advisories for the Middle East got more frequent and more serious. We wavered for a while, debating whether I should go. But go I did.
Today I am tired, jet lagged, and not particularly looking forward to the pile of backed up work I’m sure awaits me. I hope to write more about this trip later, but right now, for this I am grateful -
1. Enough valium to get claustrophobic me on an 11 hour flight.
2. To live in a place where I don’t have to own a gas mask (given to all residents but not travelers), or be awoken to the sounds of sirens.
3. To travel freely on public transportation and not worry about suicide bombers
4. To be able to re-connect, to hug, to touch, to chat face-to face, with a friend who is so dear to me.
5. To be home, safe and sound and to be able to sleep in Martha’s arms.
It is one thing to sit and talk about possible attacks on Syria when you live on the other side of the world and the only real impact will be slightly higher gasoline prices. It is quite another thing to live in a place where every decision has very, very, real consequences. The amount of anxiety people in this region live with is enormous, yet they seem to take it all in stride. The strength of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. I think I have much to learn from them.