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An anniversary

January 19, 2010

The newest Middle East Cross Cultural from EMU is currently in Cairo, Egypt.  Currently walking in places where I was two years ago.  Really?  Was it really two years ago?  Has it really been two years since my life was tossed around and upside down in a blender of despair, darkness, love, adventure, joy and pain?  Some memories are so fresh.  I can literally feel the atmosphere of breakfasts with Sarah in Beit Sahour.  I can hear the Call to Prayer in Jerusalem.  I can feel the rough sheets from the Ambassador Hotel in Cairo.  I can feel the grit and dirt in my Chacos from hiking all over Israel.  I can still feel my heart breaking and my soul being crushed.  I can still recall my feelings of awe and amazement while looking at Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.  So many experiences are right at the tips of my fingers.  They are able to be summoned at a moment’s notice.

There are some things, though, that I have had trouble summoning since my return home.  I lost a few things while I was in Israel/Palestine.  I lost my innocence, my naivety, and hope.  Yes, I lost my hope somewhere in the hills of Judea.  I wonder if I’ll ever find it again.

After I returned home, I began to drown.  Drown from caring too much, from feeling things too deeply.   From carrying too much suffering on my shoulders, too much guilt, too much hopelessness.  So I shut off.  I did let go of some things that weren’t mine to carry, but mostly I shut off.  And I’m still in that mode.  The balance between actively caring for the world and not letting it consume you is one that I obviously haven’t found.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dawn permalink
    January 20, 2010 1:02 am

    Oh Bess, I feel your pain. All I can really say is, I know, I know, I know. Wish you were here to talk to some more about that beautiful, barren, pain-filled yet somehow spectacular place. You were so good for me when I got home!
    Love you girl!

  2. January 23, 2010 2:54 am


    We talk soon. K?

  3. January 25, 2010 4:26 am

    Hey Bess… A few years ago I felt like I was being pulled in a million directions as all kinds of things were clamoring for my attention. “Care about this! Care about that! Care about another thing!” I felt pretty overwhelmed until I suddenly realized that I simply can’t care about everything. Acknowledging that limitation gave me the freedom to stop trying to care about a number of things and more carefully focus my attention on a few things. Since then, whenever I feel guilty about not caring about one more thing (and they’re all good things!), I remind myself that “I can’t care about everything.” It releases me from the burden of guilt while somehow still affirming that this thing (whatever it is) is worth caring about.

    I know that might sound weird, but it has been really helpful for me!

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