Tuesday, March 11, 2014

You Are In Israel

There is so much to say about our time in Israel.

How do I tell you what I experienced there?

No words will express the feeling one gets when riding on a bus, away from an airport, hearing the driver say, "To your right are the hills of Samaria."

Your heart beats harder.
Your mind tries to take it in.
The windows are dark, and those hills are mostly invisible, but they are there.
The hills of Samaria are just there, just outside, on the horizon.

When you woke up last, the view from your window was your own plot of grass. You could see the half fence surrounding the yard that used to hold pit bulls. You could see the trash can you'd need to roll back from the road before leaving. You could see the streetlight that signals your children home on summer evenings.

And now you are looking out a bus window, watching cars fly by beneath you. Their license tags are long and narrow. They are mostly yellow.

The bumper stickers are in Hebrew.

Your bus driver speaks Arabic.

You are sleepy after three doses of Dramamine, a very delayed flight, a run through the Newark airport, and ten hours of watching a small screen show your progress across the ocean. You barely dozed on the plane. Someone fainted in the back. There was rapid shouting in a language you didn't understand, then, in English, "We need a doctor!"

Some people heard the yelling and got scared.

9/11 is never far from our minds, whether we are people who hold an entire religion responsible or people who know better.

You weren't scared though.

Maybe it was the Dramamine slowing your system. Maybe it was your love for the language being yelled. Maybe it's because you have that American sense that nothing bad can happen to you.

You are immune.

Who knows.

Now you are on a bus, and you are tired, but you are also more awake than you have been in weeks. Your whole body is buzzing, alive. You want to see every dimly outlined hill in the distance. You want to hear every word of description the driver can offer.

You don't care what time it is in America, or whether or not the bus wi-fi is reliable, or how many hours it will take to get home at the end of your journey.

The only thing that matters is this:

You are in Israel.

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