Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Impossible Choice

As I sat in Palestine, in the West Bank, my heart ached for the peace of Jerusalem. Sitting in Bethlehem, listening to the story of the arrival of the shepherds and the words of the angels on the very first Christmas night allowed me to pull back, to appreciate this unique place irrespective of politics and personal experiences. This is a holy place, a place of my childhood bible stories, where I can connect on a deeper spiritual level. Where I can let go and see only spirituality. But, the stories mold themselves into my reality, complicating my feelings much more so than I know how to express. I tell myself it is holy irrespective of the fact that I sit staring at the barrier wall running around the perimeter of the West Bank. It is impossible for my heart to not ache for the people whose lives it has so deeply affected. It is impossible for me to sit and reflect only on spirituality when two halves of my heart are tugging at each other in front of my eyes.

How do you choose between two things you love? Sometimes I feel like a mother. I simply cannot choose between my children, between two very different yet very deep loves. I find myself playing favorites at times but at the end of each day, I know I love them both but for very different reasons. Israel was my first love, Hebrew my first language. It was my enlightened me to my passion. I have another family in Israel who took me in, made me part of the family. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, these are the places of the language of my heart, Arabic. The places where I am most challenged and inquisitive. They are the places of hospitality, warmth and conundrums I strive to understand. I love them both at my very core. Do they have faults/temper tantrums and fights? Do I want to pull my hair out some days and tell them to grow up, think critically or stop lying to each other?  You better believe it...but like brothers, I believe someday, they will reconcile. They must.

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