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Day Three Novena in Israel


It is rare that one learns something new after the age of forty. We like things easy, same, nothing that tasks the mind too much. Goodness, some of us stop living by the time we are middle aged.

In 2014, I had never been to Israel.

Today, on my fourth visit to the Holy Land, I rented a car from the center of Jerusalem and drove it to Tiberias.

You don´t do something like that every day. I looked out the window, as I drove through the hills of Judea and northward on to the Galilee, and I felt alive.

Blissfully alive.

I was traveling through Jesus´stomping grounds, but I was doing it with no particular agenda in mind. I didn´t need to feel empowered. That´s not it at all.

I wanted Him to feel empowered. To show me that the things that might scare you really shouldn´t. And if you let yourself fall into them like they were a featherbed, they just might turn out to be as easy as falling into a featherbed.

The things I had done  day after day for most of my adult life, like turning the car key in the ignition, and watching where I was backing up, and changing lanes and stopping for an ice cream at a roadside stand, these things were the rote framework for something new and surreal and deeply spiritual.

Outside my window, the palm trees, and camels, and Bedouin, and Judean hillside and the Sea of Galilee reminded me that I was traveling a new, but ancient path.

And there had been nothing to be afraid of.

The car was just a car.

The roads similar, though the center lane is white and not yellow.

The signs are written in three languages so nobody feels left out.

And the names of places like Jericho and Nazareth and Tiberias reminded me that this was not Kansas anymore – let alone hometown in rural Missouri.

This morning I touched the Western Wall and prayed.

Tonight I felt a gentle p=breeze pick up on the Sea of Galilee and the sprinkles begin as night fee, and I thought of Our Lord who walks on water.

“Walk to me, Peter.”

I know how to walk.

“Drive here with me, Denise.”

I know how to drive.


“No. Don’t worry about anything. I’ve got you.”

And Jesus reaches out His Hand.

Jesus, I trust in You. I trust you with all of me, even as I face being on my own, or middle age, or old age. I. Trust. You.

And I’m counting on seeing some spectacular views.

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