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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Give Us This Day

I've often understood the words of Jesus' prayer in the Sermon on the Mount to mean that we shall have enough, just enough, for our daily sustenance for today.  Not more and not less.  Not storing up treasures here so that we have a week's worth (wow, does this mean that all followers of Jesus should cancel their Costco membership?)  Another contemporary look at this would be the lyrics from the old Rolling Stones song,

No, you can't always get what you want 
You can't always get what you want 
You can't always get what you want 
But if you try sometime you find 
You get what you need

I was reminded yesterday that this principle of provision and abundance, or the ideal that all we can ask for is  enough is a key to pilgrimage.  I have WANTED to go to Safad(Arabic) or Tzfat (Hebrew), since I was here last in 2012.  It is a city with over 200 ancient synagogues and also was made somewhat famous as being the center of Kabbalah (thanks Madonna!).  I'm not even sure I can tell you exactly why I want to go there, but I do.  Day before yesterday, as we were on the Cliffs of Arbel, and we were getting an orientation to the land and locations, our guide, Iyad, pointed out Safed.   We were instructed to journal or at least meditate upon our longings while we were on the cliff.  I was very much thinking of this Tzafat.  

In the evening I spoke with Debbie, our leader, about the continued longing and we began to strategize about how I might get there.  Naturally, we asked for Iyad's help.  After considering transportation and cost (probably somewhere between $100 and $200, which is not insurmountable but also not insignificant) and the time to get there, and most discouraging of all, that yesterday was Purim (the Jewish festival that celebrates the saving of the Jewish people from the hands of Haman, as told in the book of Esther).  It is likely that most everything would have been shut down due to this holiday and festival.  So, the final decision was not to make the trek.  I can say I am disappointed, but certainly not devastated.  Remember, one of my previous lessons was about "let it go."

I think I was able to realize in the midst of this disappointment,  a deeper longing than going to a particular place to see synagogues and art colonies and the like.  It was this: when Iyad began to talk to me about the possibility, he said he was afraid that I would want him to investigate the possibility because he remembered my desire and questions from two years ago.  A man who I've only met on a few brief occasions, a friend of a friend, someone who I respect and admire greatly, he remembered my desire. Someone who leads countless groups and tours in a year had recalled my longing.   He earnestly "called a guy" to see what could be possible.  He obviously thought through the pros and cons, just as I did.  

In short, I wanted an excursion.  In a more eternal view, I needed recognition, memory and a person who cared.  You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you find what you need.  

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