Saturday, 6 March 2010

Two months in Jerusalem have passed. They flew by as one day, and yet it feels as if I have been here for years and years. Time ceased to exist. Or, perhaps, I have become oblivious to it, as all happy people are. Sometimes, just walking the street fills me with love.

I remember a time like this, many years ago. It was in a country that gave me my freedom and my sanity back, a place so perfect I almost felt it I was being healed just by being there, a place that changed my life, turned it around, and brought me back to God. I am reminded of it very often here, by the things that are happenning, the people I meet and the way I feel. I am speaking of Ireland, of course.

I remember thinking back then, that there was not one minute that I did not feel happy. I could have just stayed there, and never travel in my whole life, if I could only share in the magic of the sea, and the tides, and the healing it gave me, batterred after my year of living dangerously. One morning, it was January 18th, I was walking the street and realised that God had just healed me - a weight was lifted. I became who I thought I would never be.

I have missed it every day since I left. The people, the chaos, the talking, the richness of poverty, the theatre, the singing, the Church, the enchanted forests, the friends I made on the bus, the postman who knew my name, the wind and the rain, and above all, that special feeling, that I feel completely at home. Here, I remembered it vividly. I often thought, of all places I have been to, this reminds me of Ireland the most.

I spoke to one sister yesterday, who has lived many years in the Middle East. Suddenly, she blurted out, much to my amazement, 'Ireland is the Middle East of Europe'. How strange of her to have given words to what I have been thinking about for the past month or so.

Of course, Jerusalem is extreme. There is something about the way Jewish mystics would explain the celebration of Purim that may explain it. It brings out the best and the worst in people, sometimes all at once, until you can't tell the good guy from the bad guy. I have never felt anything like that anywhere else. Not that I have never had great falls after intense spiritual revelations or have never been aware of what it means to be human, but I have never seen this tension between good and evil become almost a rule of live, incorporated in every day-to-day experience. From the priests fighting in the place where the greatest miracle in history - the Resurrection - has ever happenned, to the Via Dolorosa with the soldiers through an Arab market, to people throwing stones on the way to prayer, and all the countless things in between. It is as if being human has become tangible here.

As I am writing this, I somehow realised I have no good ending for this blog post. Some things cannot be explained that easily. But as in Ireland, Jerusalem also gave me some of my freedom back, and the prayers were answered. So by way of conclusion - one of the prayers said at the site that is cause of the commotion we are now having came true the next morning.

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