Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shattered: The Jerusalem Bombing

“Most importantly... is to return to your normal lives so that the terrorists don't think they can win.” --Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat

I was half-watching the news on the tv behind the receptionist’s head and half-eavesdropping the lady’s conversation next to me when scenes of wailing sirens, blood drenched sidewalk and broken glass flashed across the television screen. The reporter’s urgent and rapid Hebrew was too fast for me to catch.

“What did she say?" I asked DH, eyes glued to the screen.

“A Jerusalem,” he said, his voice grave and low.

Moments ago, I was playfully ribbing my husband about his terrible sense of direction and getting us lost once again. Now, my quiet afternoon was ripped apart. My heart sank. I feared for my friends in Jerusalem. I was heartbroken for the victims and their families.

Today’s bombing tore through a busy bus stop in central Jerusalem, injuring 39 and killing one. While the loss of innocent life and injury is first and foremost devastating, the shattering of the 7-year cessation of bombings in Jerusalem was deafening. Every Israeli’s throat tightened as horrific memories of the intifada resurfaced.

As I watched the news, the green number on the front of the Egged bus caught my attention. 74. What do they do tomorrow? What do those people who ride bus 74 everyday back home do tomorrow? What do those people who stand at that bus stop everyday do tomorrow?

They go on. We go on. We continue our lives as normal. Israelis have a determination and resilience that is unrivaled. With blood stains still on the street and heaviness in the nation’s collective heart, the usual evening traffic resumed and I walked into my doctor’s office just as planned.

Today’s sadness will turn into tomorrow’s resolve. They won’t terrorize us. They won’t win.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Drenched in Blessings: A Day at the Beach

Israel is a tiny nation full of extremes. Her weather, it should be of no surprise, is one of many. After an especially long, devastatingly fevered summer, the entire nation of Israel prayed for rain in November to extinguish the relentless flames of the Carmel fires. God answered our prayers and has dropped torrents of rain on us for months ever since. Winters in Israel are bursts of blue skies in between afternoons of drenching rains and biting cold winds. These dreary unpredictable days are punctuated by the occasional thunderstorm loud enough to wake a sleeping dog from lovely dreams of total feline domination and promptly send her beneath the covers to intertwine herself around your legs.

But more often I am peeling off my grey wool cardigan and enjoying the warmth of the Middle Eastern sun on my bare shoulders. I have learned to enjoy the mild weather and take advantage of these occasional temperate days. In a few weeks the sun’s gentle warmth will turn fierce once again. My daylight deprived and European-lineaged skin will surrender to it more easily than I want. I am not blessed with my darling husband’s Middle Eastern complexion. His slightly olive skin browns nicely beneath the desert sun. Mine broils.

Yesterday was one of those days I took full advantage of the mild weather. Marilyn, our favorite fur bucket, has never experienced the beach in her whole eight years of life and I thought it was the perfect time and weather to take her on this adventure. If I were a betting woman, besides adoption day, I’d say this was hands down the best day of her life.

Upon reaching the cliff overlooking the Med’s crashing blue waves, Marilyn’s excitement was already at a fever pitch. I could barely contain the bouncing, barking bundle of fur at the end of the leash. She pulled me down the steep rocks towards the sand where she set forth upon her greatest achievement...digging the deepest hole she has ever dug. After a good dig, she trotted off to inspect the water. Wading in a calm pool between the rocks, she cautiously inspected the salty warm waters of the Med.

Her ears cocked in curiosity, she watched the waves crash on the shore in the distance. In a second, she was off to catch the wave on the beach. After 40 or so rounds running back and forth trying to catch the wave on the shore before it ebbed back into the sea, she realized she could actually catch it mid-break in the water. She’d back up 5 feet on the shore for a running start and dive into the frothing wave snapping at the water. After another several rounds of wave diving, it was time to go home much to her despair. I dragged her away with promises to return soon.

In such a simple day, I found immense joy. I have had quite a few days like this of late. God seems to periodically drench me in blessings in my life here in Israel. I have to remind myself to take advantage and be thankful of these blues skies.