3 – The Doors

Dec 3 – Dec 6, 2014

As always, dear reader – read gently, and I trust you’ll find something for your heart. It means so much to have you along on the journey!

Courage. Do you see others’ but not your own? I do. For me, the courage of greatest challenge is decision making – which way is best, should I or shouldn’t I, is this “right” or is there even a “right way” in this matter, is God guiding me to heed my reservations or step over them…

Or, is your courage-challenge about going forth once a decision is made? Are you quicker to establish a plan, but then tend to not implement? Why? If you don’t call it “fear”, then what? I envision someone hiding under the covers from implementation of the plan or decision they have genuinely embraced.

This picture, The Doors, by Xavier Mellery, caught my heart during my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the few days in NYC before flying to Israel. Typically, I stand gazing at art depicting people – their poses, expressions, and lifestyle filling me with the stories of their lives. Alternatively, realistic nature scenes with paths or rivers going somewhere unknown draw my attention, and this painting obviously fits the latter category. I like the light ahead, the open doors, the peacefulness that feels quiet, and while it’s alone it doesn’t feel lonely to me. I wonder whether any art major out there can tell me anything interesting about Mellery’s life or his other works.

I’m captivated by courage stories, which explains in part my interest in WW2, contemporary, and Biblical heros. The Good risking everything, to overcome evil… I remind myself that Heros don’t always succeed, or survive.

Sigh. This is now a rewrite of a nearly finalized product – we’ve all invested time and concentration to produce a document, only to have the system crash, without any discernable “saves” for hours of wordsmithing. Live and learn is what we say, and I ”learn” the same lessons over and over, until I begin “living” them out – AKA doing them. Don’t forget to save your work along the way. What else does that apply to?

One feat of courage of the past few days was signing the apartment lease. It was humbling to need a co-signer for the first time in my life, but seems to be the way they do things here. I spent some time shopping for appliances (washer, refrigerator) and a sofa/loveseat or comfy chairsm so my anticipated move in on the 14th will allow reasonably civilized living accommodations, while I wait for my shipment to arrive at the end of the month. I was able to buy the current tenants’ stove, but have a challenge for hanging clothes. There is an alcove for an actual wardrobe – typically antique furniture by American standards – a “closet” as it translates from Hebrew to English; I’m not inclined to buy a furniture-closet, but rather considering a simple shelf or two, and bar for hanging clothes. Who will I find to do the work? It looks so simple, and I tried hanging a shelf over the washer in my Denver condo, but the entire project collapsed in the middle of the night, and now I know my limitations.

My soon-to-be new neighborhood is lovely, with mature landscaping and ultra-mature apartments, many on a grand scale. Check out the HUGE grapefruits on a neighbor’s tree! The next street over offers a brilliant view of the Knesset surrounded by great walking trails, plus there’s a decent looking gym just one block away, and I intend to join that right away.

Today I am looking forward to lunch at the home of a new friend. Here’s how it came about: Dolly, who invited me to her home for lunch of yummy Hungarian soup the day we met, passed along my contact information to her friend, Miriam, who invited me to a lecture, where I met the Sarale who’s invited me to lunch today.   How grateful I am to those who have reached out. I’m eager to collect these acquaintances and to develop friendships; their hospitable hearts have already lightened the load of my first few weeks’ adjustment. Along those lines, a woman who’s lived here for 6 years (from Detroit) struck-up a conversation in one of the appliance stores this week. These encounters occur nearly every day, but this was the first time the other person asked for MY contact information so we could meet for coffee. Usually I give my information in hopes they will be interested, and I was so delighted to have her initiate—of course I’ll follow up. I tell these stories so you don’t worry too much about my days alone, to memorialize the gratitude I feel, and to nudge you to reach out the stranger in whatever ways are appropriate.

This week I spent 15 minutes observing the Hebrew class I’ll begin in January – 4 hours/day, 5 days/week, for 5 months. With homework!! Again, how do people do this with busy family lives!? The class was lively, fast paced, led by a skilled teacher using various modalities, and the vibe of the approximately 35 students was mutually supportive and upbeat. The students were primarily women 25 – 40ish, leaving the bell curve fairly balanced at both ends. I left with combined emotions: intimidation, excitement, confidence, intimidation. Oh, did I say that twice?

The teacher in the Hebrew class wrote (scrawled!) phrases and words rapidly on the whiteboard in cursive Hebrew. Are any of you old enough to remember learning cursive letters after learning to print? Consider how the swirls and circles and different lines, further stylized by individual writers’ artsy renditions are used in advertisements and store signage. They confound this child-like reader by effectively hiding words I might otherwise know, or at least be able to sound out. Salespeople have written product information and references in script, and I’ve found myself unable to recognize even ONE letter, much less read words, so I scribble English notes besides their scrawl, for later. My self-assignment from now until January will be to devote serious time to getting a feel for reading and writing with the Hebrew script.

It’s time to leave for my lunch at Sarale’s home.

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