Day Two Novena from Israel
I only had a limited idea of how the day would go. Amtrak to Chicago. Bus or taxi to O’Hare. Flight to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. Disembark and find new gate. Flight from Istanbul to Tel Aviv.
That’s when the really interesting journey would begin.
I would go through passport control on my own. No guide or leader to help me through. No name dropping or title to make it go smoothly.
The Holy Land on my own was a new path. A new way of trusting. I would get there. But I wasn’t quite sure the varied paths the journey would take.
The passport control gentleman asked me why I was there.
To see a friend. It was true. Margalit and I go back to the days I worked for Israel Ministry of Tourism.. He looked at something on his screen brim behind the bulletproof glass and then handed me back my passport.
That was it.
I walked through customs, found my checked bag, and exited through the inner chambers of the airport to embrace Israel.
There she was. My friend.
I blurted out a “Yay!” And ran to her.
I blinked back tears. I missed her. There was that, all of that. But I also needed her.
She would help me along, from Tel Aviv night noise to the holy city of Jerusalem.
She would get me there without it costing me everything I had to my name.
She found the bus, then a train, then a bus – or was it two more buses?
And I saw the hotel rising up from the street.
I panicked a moment when I couldn’t find my passport. “Check your pouch,” she said.
I thought she meant my pockets, my gazillion pockets. “I did already.”
Then I remembered my body pouch, a money bag strapped to my tummy. “Oh, here it is.”
She laughed. That is what I said, your pouch.”
Could I do this on my own. Yes. Next time. But the first time we do anything, we need some help.
Like the first time we travel to Israel totally alone.
But there is help. Just when I need it, there is help.
Today, I trust you, Lord. You have given me the Saints, the Readings, Your Grace.
You have given me friends.
A husband. Children and grandchildren.
You have given me Yourself.
Jesus, I trust you.
Margalit pulled back the drapery in the hotel room, and we stepped onto the balcony.
It was night. I couldn’t make out anything along the skyline.
“There,” she said. “See that?”
“That is the Western Wall.”
I had seen it many times before, but still I wouldn’t not have been able to pick it out without her guiding finger.
I read the readings. Sipped tea. Relished the thought that I was here. I am here.
I climbed into bed, so exhausted.
But before I fell asleep, I remembered what was outside the sliding glass door.
With my mind’s eye, I peered across the balcony and to the left.
I let everything else fall form my view, that view in my mind.
No city, no buildings, no noice.
The Western Wall.
The Temple Mount.
I talked to Jesus. There it is. The place you knew, oriented to the south, waiting for me, waiting for morning.
Waiting for prayers that I am taking, like a helper to others.
Plane, train, bus, taxi, and my husband’s truck.
My two legs.
And then, I will go to the Wall.
Where we will say together, in Spirit:
Jesus, we trust in you for the answer to these petitions and all those we hide in the silence of our hearts.