Israel Are We There Yet?
It’s either Sunday or Monday… Not sure. I’ve been in airports for days now. In the same clothes since Friday morning. Time tends to bend in on itself and convolute. Sunday morning –seems like days ago — I awoke to find myself still in Manhattan even though I had flown to New York on Friday night just as a layover on my way to Israel. But instead I spent all day Saturday in the airport only to get in a car and head back to the City late that night. Woke up a bit late Sunday morning remembering where I was and ran to church. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the City. So I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity. Boo Boo Kitty didn’t want to go because we hadn’t “gotten ready”, but I’ve been going there so long I don’t even care what I look like anymore. Just wanted to be in the space once again.
It’s funny. Some places you can live in for years and never feel that sense of home. That’s how South Florida was for me. I lived there for years but it just never felt like home. Seattle has been the same. Absolutely nothing against it, but I just don’t get it. New York was the first place in the United States where I felt that inexplicable sense of “this is home”. Right down to the church. I must confess to feeling near giddy by the opportunity to be able to attend a service at Christ Church unplanned like that. Everyone assumed I was already in Israel. Turns out it was Communion Sunday (first Sunday of every month) totally by chance. When I walked up to the front to receive Communion I noticed Catherine Darlington sitting in her spot in the pews to the left as always. Tapped her shoulder. Hadn’t seen her in months. Nor even spoken. Last time we spoke she was very upset with me about allowing a certain song to be released which will go unmentioned here. Reverend Bauman had a surprised look on his face when he saw me, as if seeing a ghost. It’s true, I hadn’t been in New York for a while. And here I just show up out of the blue. It was a marvelous experience though. The music as always was transcendent. The sounds that emanate from that choir are just ridiculous. Movie quality. Record quality. You can’t believe that it’s something that is provided free of charge. Sure as members we donate a small percentage of our annual salaries to keep the church alive, but in reality anyone can walk in off the street and just plop themselves down to experience these awe-inspiring services. That’s one of the many aspects of American churches, Christian churches…(?) that impresses me most. The sermon was deep, moving and thought provoking. As they always are. Reminded me why some places just feel like home.
We’re actually quite lucky if we happen to find a place to call home in the world. I never realized that until it happened to me. Most of the places we go, whether we live there or not, don’t necessarily vibe with us. It’s not a given. But New York has always been that way for me. Because my mind was so preoccupied with why I was really in the city and there were so many people to catch up with, I decided not to stay afterwards, but rather just sneak out quietly. My mind wasn’t there. Too concerned with how the hell we were going to get to Israel, if ever.
While at church I received yet another text regarding the trip to Israel, “Head to JFK ASAP. May have a flight.” So I ran back to Boo Boo Kitty’s place, packed up my stuff once again and got back in a car to head to the airport for the third time in 48 hours. Once there we were told that at this point Delta was just throwing us on whatever flights they could in order to get us there. It was total chaos. We’re on our third day now of trying to get there. Some people were headed to Amsterdam. Some to Israel direct. Some to Berlin. Some to the U.K. A few of us were stuck at JFK for what’s seemed like days. And here we sit. It’s been one hell of a trip and we haven’t even arrived in Tel Aviv yet. From what I hear each of us may be on a different flight but somehow meet up in Israel at some point this week. This is not how a group peace mission or diplomacy or work trip is supposed to go. But it isn’t anyone’s fault except for the airline’s. I’m a big Delta fan. Starting to rethink that. I’ll keep you posted.