And the traveling continues, most unexpectedly! Thanks to a lovely gift from my sis Kathy, I found myself March 10th, hopscotching to Rome and landing in Cairo for a twelve day pilgrimage of the Holy Land. I responded as a writer--I journalled every night when we came back to home base on our cruise ship, the Cristal, at least a bit, no matter how tired I was. And now I'm grateful as I read over the snippets of what we did each amazing day, to be able to break open each experience and relive it, coming to understand more fully as I write.
I'll share my insights with you, bit by bit: Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Greece. The very presence of these countries in my being now shapes my writing in ways that will surprise me, I know.
One bit for today--an experience in Galilee that rises quickly to the top for me. We stopped at the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, a holy spot where tradition teaches Jesus spoke those eight wonderful Blesseds to the people. There on the green hillside sloping down to the sea our little group of pilgrims, in the Catholic tradition, celebrated Mass. Olive trees trembled in the afternoon breeze, their leaves green and silver. The birds (sparrows?) sang a spring song to us as we gathered on the top of that hill where Jesus taught almost 2000 years ago. And I had the joy and privilege of standing where Jesus stood and reading the Scriptures aloud at that Mass, Micah's words, "Shepherd your people, the flock of your inheritance." And then Psalm 103, "Bless the Lord, oh my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name."
It was a moment to be held tenderly for all my life. Someone told me afterwards my face glowed as I read--I'm sure it did. In that moment I realized the powerful blessing of God's goodness in a way that I will not forget.
So many moments in those twelve days. This is one of the joys of being a writer, to take each of these life experiences and hold it like a jewel, seeing new facets, then sharing the treasure in some way with my readers. I smile just thinking about it. Who knows what wonders will come forth?