It's the little things. Really, this trip had a lot of big moments and they were awesome but this trip had a lot of little moments that I will think of and cherish in the days ahead. Since my ADD brain has problems thinking in a clear, concise manner, there will be no particular order or importance of order in this post. It is writing it down when it comes to mind. I have already had a million thoughts since that last sentence and then having sip of coffee, none of the million stuck.
John Bolin tells a story of college days touring through Canada on a bus. I assume it was his CBU choir and they were crossing through the beauty of the Rocky Mountains around Banff and Lake Louise. He was taking it all in, the immense beauty and majesty of the region, when he turned to look in the back of the bus. People were sleeping through the best part and he couldn't believe that. If memory serves, he roused the sleepers encouraging them not to miss the glory and beauty. I love that song Don't Let Me Miss the Glory that we sing in choir. So, even as tired as I was some days, I didn't want to sleep on the bus as we motored along the highways in Israel. We saw camels, sheep, lots and lots of rocks, people, businesses, and the like. A note to those of you that might travel to Israel in the future; sheep and large rocks look alike from the bus and although I got some great pictures of sheep, I also got some great pictures of rocks thinking I was capturing the pastoral beauty of grazing sheep.
Enjoy the company of those you travel with. This is the first group I have traveled with that didn't have one cranky, grouchy person who demanded attention and generally made an a** of themselves. One night Peggy and I were talking about this when it dawned on me, maybe I was the person that was getting on every one's nerves. Not because I was cranky, although I know how to do that, but because I slowed down the group. In my younger, athletic days I certainly didn't have patience with a person like I have become. Our group genuinely enjoyed one another, laughed together, stood in awe together, and loved celebrating the four birthdays on our trip. When Raouf or Wanda Jean weren't talking on the mic at the front of the bus, we were all engaged in conversations. Billy and Janie sat in front of Dena and me. Roy and I have been friends with them for a long time but over the past 15 or so years, even though we attend the same church, our paths didn't cross very often. I had forgotten how much I enjoy their company and conversation. Enjoyed spending time with Melinda. We go way back all the way to Married Young Adults. At Ceassera by the Sea, David Bolin had just sang the first verse of How Great Thou Art and the acoustics were great. Peggy quickly assembled Janie and me to accompany her on the second verse of the song and our verse came with choreography by Peggy. What a blast! Although I do not want to see a video of it. Most evenings at the hotel, after dinner, Peggy and Kathleen would drop in our room. On Thursday night Dena got to be a party to and observe the script writing process with Peggy and me. In fact, Dena gave us one of the best observations and we used it. I loved meeting and making new friends. I also enjoyed getting to know church people better, you know the ones that we only know by name. Lots of little moments that became a huge unexpected blessing.
The quiet and peace at the Church of the Beatitudes. It was one of the only places we were given time to pray or read on our own. The garden is made with so many niches to feel alone with the Lord. I chose a spot next to honeysuckle bushes because honeysuckles remind me of a good part of my childhood and also, I was on level ground. Loved the attendant outside the restrooms there. She had a little dish and you were to leave money for usage of the facilities. As I was digging through my wallet to find some money, a man breezed past the attendant. She began banging on the table to get his attention because he hadn't paid. Hey, that man doesn't know it (he wasn't in our group) but that visit was on me. Just paying it forward and it was worth it for the lady to stop banging the table with her fingertips.
I didn't remember the Dead Sea being so blue and so inviting. If ya didn't know it was the Dead Sea and jumped right in, you'd have a big surprise.
While we waited for those who were finishing up their time on Mt Multiplication but I kept wanting to call it Division...the bread and fish. Jesus multiplied the fish and bread to feed the 5000 but his disciples divided them up into baskets. Let's just call it the Church of Holy Math. Anyway, some of the guys in our group began throwing a football with a couple of local boys. I think Wanda Jean even added in some of her stellar cheer leading moves. It was a great moment that play transcends language.
I went to Israel thinking that I would be Diet Coke less. It was not so, I had several along the way. Best ones were the DC that came in glass bottles. It's the little things.