I caused congestion in the produce aisle in HEB yesterday. I was getting groceries and happened to see a church friend who either, not knowing or forgetting how I love to talk, asked me how our Israel trip was. "It was amazing," I said.
But what does amazing even mean?
I counted at least seven glasses upstairs in the kids' rooms yesterday even though I've told them not to bring drinks upstairs. That's amazing to me. Amazing is vague.
So I had to tell her a little about the trip and how it still has my mind boggled consuming my thoughts even in the wee hours of the morning. And then I talked with her doll-eyed boy about the snack tray he munched on which included tiny nacho chips and race car gummies. Then I moved on so traffic could flow more freely by the avocados.
I saw three more friends while shopping yesterday who commented on the trip. I tried to keep my words to a minimum because who wants to be in HEB very long. But each time I was dissatisfied with my having to describe a trip that changed my life in only a few words.
That's why, once again, I'm thankful for having a space to write out my heart's clamoring.
With this post I'll start out light because thoughts of the trip still float dizzily above me like a kaleidoscope of butterflies uncontained yet begging to be noticed.
There's more to come though.
Here are a few of the things I learned on our trip to Israel which also included days of wonder in Turkey, Rome and Greece:
Turkey is beautiful and colorful and altogether visually stunning.
In Rome, you should never say "Ciao" to an acquaintance and definitely not to someone you've never met.
Gelato is nothing like jello. How could I have ignored this stuff at Rao's so long? Why didn't anyone tell me?...
The Circus Maximus wasn't a circus after all, but an ancient stadium used for chariot racing which held 150,000 spectators. Because of its genius, it became a model for Roman circuses throughout the Roman Empire.
All hotdogs are not created equal. Never, never get one while you're in Rome. Do as the Romans do. Eat pizza.....or gelato.
Neither are all toilet seats created equal.
You can't take pictures in the Sistine Chapel.
I now understand the meaning of Rome wasn't built in a day.
"Prego" means "you're welcome" which is funny when you think of the spaghetti sauce. I can picture a healthy Italian in a white apron handing me a jar of Prego saying in his thick accent "Here's some Prego,......you're welcome!"
In Greece I learned that the marble steps leading to the Parthenon are slippery and just how quick Jason and Hayden can be to pick me up when I fall.
I learned that the Greek get it right when it comes to Greek salad. They leave out the lettuce and go straight for the goody.
I discovered that graffiti can be beautiful particularly by a gigantic set of "praying hands" on the side of a hotel in the center of Athens. The "Praying Hands" as they're fondly referred to are pointing down instead of up toward heaven. These are the hands of God reaching down.
I learned what Falaffel is and that Israeli people eat a lot of chickpeas between Falaffel and hummus.
I learned that, like in Egypt, Israel has mountains of dirt, and is as hot as southeast Texas. I learned why scripture containing reference to "water springing up" and "living water" held such important meaning. I learned that I am often inattentive to my thirst and fill myself with things that don't satisfy.
I learned TWICE that you DON'T cross your legs in the Greek Orthodox Chruch. Sheesh! Some people are slow learners.
I saw an actual ancient manger that wasn't made of wood supported by legs.
As we traveled past the back door of Syria and into Jordan and the West Bank I was reminded that it's sometimes in the darkest places where God's presence is the strongest.
I remembered why I love Peter so much, a man who was willing to die for Christ yet denied him three times. He lived a life of commitment to Jesus that was often clouded by humanity.
But more than anything I learned that my mind can't contain how big God is and how good are his ways. Throughout the trip I couldn't get a tune out of my head that I think more encompasses my feelings than any words I could come up with. It's a song by Addison Road.
Guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees
So What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
So What do I know?
What do I know of Holy?
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