Do you find a visit to another locale revamps your life?
My husband and I did, when we postponed our house’s new siding and, instead, journeyed to Israel.
Overseas flying resembles being locked in stocks. Announcements ending with, “A pleasant night to you and dear children. We are hoped oxygen-air work” did not reassure us. Still, flight attendants gave us menus. We Americans, accustomed to toss-pretzels-to-the-masses treatment, exchanged wide-eyed glances. Steaming hand towels preceded exotic meats, vegetables marinated in spices and oven-warm bread.
“You’re eating eggplant?” I stared at Hubby.
“Mmm.” He munched away.
“Would you eat eggplant at home?”
Even a holy pilgrimage can exert only so much influence on a husband.
We landed in Tel Aviv and, wobbling from jet lag, began a week-long feast of scenes straight from our Bibles. We saw where Joshua watched Jericho’s walls collapse. Where Deborah, Israel’s only woman judge, advised generals. Where David defeated a giant, hid in scorpion-infested desert caves from his insane father-in-law, and finally triumphed as king.
Our guide said the Sea of Galilee’s waves could morph into 12-foot monsters if the wind changed moods. They could sink a boatload of disciples, past or present, without the help of a walking-on-the-water Storm Specialist.
Perhaps Jesus and His disciples, as our group did, swam in the Dead Sea, guffawing as they struggled to anchor their floating feet.
We experienced the ancient buildings of Jerusalem, its narrow, crooked streets, and tunnel-like marketplaces, a seeming combination of mall and dungeon; Cana, where Jesus partied and turned water into wine; and the Mount of Olives, where He cried and prayed.
We stood inside two possible sites of His burial, tombs where Jesus carefully folded the cloth that had covered His dead face before exiting — then scared the daylights out of His disciples!
Some scenes we viewed, though, were never seen by Jesus. Veiled women wearing earphones. Camels tied outside filling stations. Souvenir shops selling Cubs shirts with Hebrew characters. Hard-eyed young men with machine guns in Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace.
Fortunately, most memories call up different images:
Gushing waterfalls in a deadly desert.
Rowdy bar mitzvah processions celebrating skinny 13-year-olds under canopies surrounded by boogying relatives, drummers and virtuoso clarinet players who ritually run down tourists.
Market booths boasting Israel’s favorite fast food, falafel, consisting of deep-fried chickpeas.
“You’re eating that?” I stared at Hubby.
He chomped away. “Mmm. Could you make this?”
Even a holy pilgrimage can exert only so much influence on me.
Still, a visit to another locale can revamp your life. Crammed in an 11-hour ride home, you find yourself dreaming of when you can return.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever walked where Jesus walked?