Dec 16 – 20
Friends and connection
A friend visiting from Denver made time in her relentless business and family schedule to include me. This friendship, and our conversations’ depth is surprising at many levels to me – dramatically different backgrounds somehow don’t keep us from being able to talk about our growth and faith, how we’re learning to trust God in new ways, lessons learned through seasons of great disappointment and disillusionment. I hope the fragrance of our lives will continue to make eachother more lovely, even in our too infrequent communications.
These days, I’m relying on infrequent communications. Because of everyone’s busy-ness and time zone and day-to-day to-dos, phone or detailed email messages have been nonexistent or minimal at best, compared with how often we interacted before. The Denver ladies who met at my home monthly, the meals and walks and such with others… long phone calls with dear OLD California friends… I’m trusting we’ve built solidly and when we’re together or on the phone that it’ll be like it is so often with dear friends: “as though no time elapsed.” What is the stuff of friendships that creates that dynamic, when other relationships fall away with time? And those friendships that were just beginning to take root…I hope the foundation is not too fragile to survive this distance.
Sleeplessness and the move: The acupuncture apparently jolted my nervous system back into alignment and I slept as-though-drugged (AKA: passed-out!) for some portion of the 20 minutes with needles in my feet, shins, neck and shoulder and forehead. I returned to my freshly painted, reasonably undusty apartment (isn’t dust is like ants? You wipe it away, and then from somewhere more comes). I slept well for my first night on the sofa, notwithstanding the lingering paint fumes. The next day’s Shiatsu massage addressed neck/shoulder tightness from the heavy lifting, cleaning, and sleepless of preceding days. Have you had Shiatsu? It’s very aggressive massage and I was sore for several days, looking for bruises on my upper back, but it seems to be effective. Both the acupuncture and massage were without undressing, and different in approach from my U.S. resources, but then most everything is different here, so why not?!?
I do feel better, seem to be sleeping, have joined and am already enjoying classes and weights in the nearby (ladies only) gym. Miles and miles of walking just isn’t enough. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the biweekly personal trainer session included in the membership. The varied, frequent classes look like the list anywhere, with one addition: Folk Dancing. I’ll check that one out, and most certainly the Greek, Israeli, and other Folk dances offered at a local community centers. I haven’t found Ballroom yet, but have been told it’s there. I visited a “Sing along” but otherwise haven’t found any potential groups. That may have to wait until after language classes.
I was reading about King David passing the Kingdom to his son, Solomon, who is later invited to ask God for whatever he wants. Traditionally, Solomon is considered a wise king, having asked for wisdom instead of riches or other silliness, but the thing that caught my eye in reading this time is that BEFORE Solomon asks for wisdom in that encounter with God, David commends his son’s wisdom. I have a vivid memory of the 28 year old me facing how desperately clueless I was, and brazenly asking God for wisdom – for a portion of what He gave Solomon. I’ve been pondering why we want the virtues or talents we want. I find that the more we learn of something, the more we realize how far we are from knowing much at all about it. In Solomon’s case, he had already demonstrated wisdom, and so perhaps having some made him want more, realizing he was only skimming the surface of a deep, deep well.
On the other hand, haven’t we all known people who try desperately towards ambitions for which they lack the basic “gift”. No amount of mentoring or study enables them to reach their ambition. I’ve certainly prayed to do things, or be someone, only to later face the reality those dreams were far from my core talents. A simple example is that I could practice and play the piano hours on end, and never have the true talent of others. The learning and practice, however, later helped me develop my singing voice, which was also a dream, unfortunately squashed when I was young. Even as a late starter, the singing opportunities have been a blessing and have brought richness into my adult life for which I’ll always be grateful. So, learning something for which I had minimal talent(piano) enabled another skill that had a bit more potential. Lesson learned: learn lessons because they’ll apply to areas that might surprise you later. Learning is most often generalized to many areas of life. We could have lively discussions of lessons learned through careers, “good” and “bad” bosses, challenging close relationships, FAILURE, etc. Returning to the subject, which virtues or gifts do you now or have you craved? Where are you in that continuum from “mission accomplished” to “guess not”?
My neighborhood is filled with lovely Chanukah candles, many on the streets, outside the homes. The families gather around and light their candles, read the prayers, sing, let the children rabble-rouse a bit to burn off the sugar of the traditional, filled-donut treats. On the 2nd night of Chanukah, the kids on my street were playing a game or something wonderful around 9:00 and I was wondering if it is part of the tradition, and what time they are roused for school in the morning. I’m hoping an Israeli can explain whether kids stay up late on the 2nd night of Chanukah, or was it simply unique to my neighbors, that night. Learning this culture is full of sorting out the “norm” from idiosyncrasies.
Thursday evening I went to watch Chanukah music and dancers for a special “Olim” night – that references those who have recently immigrated to Israel, which includes me! I’ve been trying to attach the 7 minutes of videos to this site but no luck yet. I’ll keep trying.
Establishing a rhythm: My days include excursions plotted geographically with errands, to explore new areas’ and shopping for particulars as well as price comparisons; buying almost always mandates negotiating for lower prices. It’s kind of fun. The last few days’ projects was visiting the agencies I need to set up my language class and change of address, but was complicated by having been misdirected, was turned away from closed offices because of Chanukah, and, get this: I waited for my turn at the Central Post Office with a number of ‘190’ when the number currently being served was ‘107’ (TRULY!). There were 5 clerks working, so I ran a few nearby errands rather than just sit the entire time, and when it was finally my turn, learned the entire effort was unnecessary because of procedures changed years ago.
Every day something happens that reminds me to wonder again how people do this with bunches of kids and jobs. I miss my friends and routines. Even as hospitable and warm that my new friends are, I get lonely. But then, I suppose so do the folks with loving spouses and all the beautiful children, right? Loneliness is a bigger subject, but I’ll give the teaser that I think everyone gets lonely at times… I believe it’s a yearning of our hearts, not for chocolate or the other vices as it often manifests, but for a far deeper knowing and being known than any human can provide. Should we talk about that?
I love being here. Will war start up again? When is probably the better question. Stay informed: http://www.timesofisrael.com/
Email me if you have something you want to hear more about in an upcoming blog.