Feb. 19, 2008
Last week I experienced my third earthquake. And I do mean literal earthquake – registering 5.3 at the epicenter. I was sitting in a 10th floor penthouse when the leather couch I was on started to shake away from the wall. Needless to say it scared the hell out of me, and my first thought was, darn, I don’t have my bra on if this thing goes down, I’ll be braless in the rubble, and then I thought of Peter, wishing that he was with me, and wishing that we hadn’t just had a really rough fight. Funny how looming disaster helps you forget and forgive. In a few moments the shaking stopped. Life returned to normal, I went and put a bra on and gave Peter a genuine smile when he came home.
That earthquake was the worst of the small tremors since we’ve been here. Scientist say we need to get ready for the big one, I’m hoping last weeks was the big one. I keep thinking of the earthquakes Turkey experienced in the late 90’s…since much of the homes are designed the same way here, in the darkness of my imagination I believe it would be the same detrimental disaster that Turkey experienced, but that’s only when I’m not being a positive thinking christian American.
The prayer vigils are stretching me. It’s a love hate relationship. Part of me wonders what good could possibly come from doing what we are doing here, it’s the ‘carnal’ part of my mind, some would say. The part that says, I believe God but forgive my unbelief. Yes, that part. I grumble and complain about how I feel like we entertain for two hours, guest who choose to come in and sit in the farthest back row and stare out the windows and if your lucky, they’ll sing a line or two of the song your playing when their spirit moves them. How could this possibly be fruitful for the kingdom I ask myself? And what is the Kingdom of God anyway? Does it look like this, this prayer room situated in the tip of Jerusalem’s old city? And with me playing my guitar alongside peter playing his lap steel and us singing songs hoping that the words are touching God’s ears. Words that plea for peace, and justice and good news, and love between ancient brothers. Yet when I quiet my heart, and I let go of the stresses that keep me noisy inside, I sense I am different. I believe in prayer again. Like a bird set free from a cage, my heart is praying prayers that are far more courageous than my timid soul. As if, by grace, the heart of Jesus is being expressed through my prayers. I confess, It feels good to pray like that. I’m toying with the idea that all this excruciating change might just be worth it, my spirit is beginning to stretch out its broken wings. I believe, but forgive my unbelief.
It snows on average in Israel, once every seven years. We had our seven year snow two weeks ago. That night we went to sleep in our room, an upper loft, without insulation, and I could feel the wind blowing through the wood slots of our walls. The gusts of blistery wind cried out as it pushed its way through the wooden panels of our room. The next morning Jerusalem was covered in snow. The wind was still pounding when Peter and I led our watch at the prayer room that afternoon. I couldn’t help but sing that Waterdeep song, “when the cold wind blows all around will you still love me?” It seemed appropriate.
Maybe the seven year cycle is broken because it snowed again today. Thankfully the city didn’t shut down this time, buses still running, markets still open. Oh but this wind, this wind that cries all day and all night. I wonder if when Elijah was hiding in the cave and the fire came, and then the wind, and then finally the still small voice, if the wind was anything like this. Maybe I should start listening for the still small voice.
God must have known that I was at brinks end and so He brought Kristen Cote and my sister, Alysa Little, here. They were here for the first snow. We played hours of monopoly and talked and talked, and watched downloaded movies, and ate rice cakes and toured everywhere and made up irreverent nicknames for some of the guests that were staying here at the time. They were, for me, grace poured out. A little piece of home brought to me, it was exactly what I needed.