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I wish I could write yall something a bit more awe inspiring, but frankly, there have been so many impressions made on me in the last 48 hours I don’t know what to make of them all.
I’ll start with Mila.
I knew I’d like her from the moment she opened her mouth. She made her way down the isle of the plane, placed her bag on the ground, looked at it, looked at the overhead compartment, looked at her bag again (which appeared to have a medium sized dog stuffed in it) then looked at the man standing behind her. A quick flick of the hair. A charming smile.
“So you want to be a big strong man or what?”
Her voice was deep and smooth, powerfully feminine. The tall lanky man with calf high socks and a safari hat laughs awkwardly. “Uh, well, of course I do!” As he hefts her bag into the compartment, she shoots a knowing smile at me. “I guess we are sitting together now for a very long time! We better be friends then. I am Israeli, my name is Mila.”
She was wonderful. And crazy. But I do have a special love for the crazies – they are so unapologetically themselves. Mila (I don’t know if that is a nickname, or even her real name for that matter) lived on a Kibbutz just south of the Syrian border. She had a handsome son (but he’s married, honey, I’m sorry – are you married yet?), two brilliant beautiful daughters, and a granddaughter who was so precious she deserved the moon and all the stars around it. She took it upon herself to tell me where to go, where to stay away from, and how a History major was a stupid degree to get because now I will be poor for the rest of my life.
Needless to say she was constantly entertaining. She was incredibly critical of the Orthodox Jewish man who sat in front of me – cursing him for living off her taxes and skipping out on military service. “He thinks that talking to God all day is more important than working. Idiot.” I was surprised. “You are going to Jerusalem, that is not Israel. That place is crazy. Go to Tel Aviv, that is where you go if you want to know what it means to live.” Orthodoxy had no Spirit, and this woman needed Spirit. I admired that the most about her. She desired God, but not on the religious terms Orthodox Judaism had presented it to her. I think most of us are very similar to Mila. Spirited and desirous of God, but disillusioned with religion – especially in the Orthodox form.
I am excited to be a Christian in Jerusalem. I am excited to see how this city of many faiths see God, how they relate to him. I am excited to be a part of an organization that is about Grace, not Religion. I am excited to learn about the difference between Spirit and Legalism. I am excited to learn.