Hi and good morning (at least it's morning here for me as I write this). I'm in Tiberias, getting ready to go up to Jerusalem, and something came to mind that I would like to share.
There Are People
All along this trip, I've noticed something within myself. Everywhere I go, there are people...big shocker! Well, what I mean is that they are all strangers. At several points of the trip, from trying to pay for a bus when my card is being rejected, picking out food on a menu, trying to figure out a bus schedule written only in hebrew, to just saying hello. I have come to many points where I REALLY need help. This makes me need to approach others, or let myself be approached. I'm really a shy person and don't feel easy about approaching some people. Sure it's easy when they look like your grandmother or they're at a booth that says, "Information Booth," but I'm talking about people sitting in a circle.
There are many places I have walked into and all the heads turn to look at me. Some smile and some just give blank looks like, "who's this guy?!?" Some don't even notice at all. In my shyness, I assume they all think I'm the tourist walking in and that people are tired of tourists. I assume they aren't nice, they don't want to be bothered, and I need to look elsewhere. It seems like everytime I need help, it then becomes a moment to work up courage to do so.
In in reality, everyone I have asked has been really helpful, and some to the point of escorting me to where I need to be. It's broken my perception a bit about strangers. Are you intimidated by strangers? Join the club! :) This brings me to another thing I would like to share...
As you may know I am traveling alone. Some have expressed a jealousy of me to be able to go wherever I want, without the responsibility of a wife or kids. Being able to just get up and go as I please, it's an awesome thing. Sure, I have some of that freedom, but it's not all it's cracked up to be. Having been alone for over a week, it gives me some perspective on the value of being someone for someone.
I've been on several trips with groups and yes, they come with challenges. But when you're alone, you're alone. Having someone with you can help give you an extra step of energy or boldness. Having someone with you can hinder that too of course, but really, I think, I'm learning the value of having someone with you. There are long stretches of time when I don't talk with anyone, but once I meet someone who I can speak with, it's like cold water on a hot day. Don't take it for granted!
For centering, I have been going through a prayer book I picked up in Assisi. It's a copy of St. Francis's prayer book and was organized by him. He took from Psalms and Gospel texts and constructed prayers to pray seven times a day. I haven't been keeping with the seven times, but I've been enjoying it.
Each prayer starts with, "All you works of the Lord, bless the Lord." It's not often that I consider myself a work of the Lord, nor even some people around me. But really, we are. It really gives me the perspective that I am not alone, I belong to someone, and He is at work with me. And by work, I don't mean on a schedule and that I am a project...but I am His, as are you.
Later in the prayer it continues,
"Almighty, most holy most high and supreme God, all good, supreme good, totally good, You alone who are good, may we give back to You all praise..."
Remembering God is good, does only good, wants only good, gives only good, makes only good...it brings wind to me. If we are His works...we are His good works.
Goodbye for now...on to Jerusalem!