So, and finally! Our last few days in Jerusalem were hard work for me. I have been struggling for a while. Life has been flat and on occasions very vacant, but that is part of me. I have not been ‘here’ for a long time. Usually at this point I will hide, hibernate, gather my things around me. We have had our holiday booked for a long time and deep down I thought Israel would help as I have so many happy and healing memories from before. I thought it would be somewhere to hide and to get away. To try and be bright and cheery, and to relax with family and friends. Well we did relax, but by the time we got to the last few days, my body was beginning to say “What are we doing? Where are we going?” My ‘list’ life was back and I needed the security of knowing exactly what and where we were doing things. Putting coping strategies in place – ones that are tried and tested – help. Lists become my life crutch. Mental ones. Physical ones. Short ones that last an hour and longer ones which cover a day. I know that lists to some will add a pressure, but I find them comforting. I no longer need to think what to do next. It is there in black and white, occasionally in colour. There holding my hand.
Unfortunately my mental list collapsed one lunch time and I threw a big wobble. It all came rushing out. The steadying hand of my ‘list’ life had gone astray, and the one I usually hold – my husband’s, was not there. However, my son’s hand came to the rescue. He packed me up and took me away to find that ‘other half’. He was caring and gentle but firm. He was so adult and grown up. I saw another side to him. A side that I shall remember lovingly and gratefully. Sitting in Christ Church’s courtyard I slowly came back and a list was put in place. A tour of the tunnels under the Western Wall and that of Hezekiah. I shall always remember the trip down Hezekiah’s tunnel. Remember walking through knee high water in a tunnel one person wide and pitch black, except for the little torches people were using. Remember the squeezing of my hand from my son. Remember finding my husband back at the guest house. Remember the sigh of relief that I could then hide away for a while with no pressures. Looking back I have some precious memories to hold. I have no photographs, but lots of feelings to treasure.
A couple of days later we went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was quiet unlike the last time I went. There was no pushing to get a picture. No pressure. Such beautiful trees, old and gnarled. Something to focus on.
Oh I know they are not THE trees, but they drew me into the church. A time to sit and be quiet. A time to focus on my Lord. The colour from the windows was bluey/purple. A regal colour. A subdued hue. A thoughtful restful colour.
As I sat there listening to the service, not understanding a word, but truly resting in His love, I felt a deep thankfulness. Thankful for the people who had built the churches I had seen on my trips. Thankful for the opportunity they gave to people from around the world to focus and to sit like me. Thankful for the praise we can give no matter the language. But mostly, I was thankful for the love our Lord gives to us no strings attached. A love that endures forever and has a big hand to hold.
“Praise the Lord, all you nations, extol Him,all you peoples. For great is His love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 117.