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Unexpected Realization

** Nota bene - The following is a transcription of a longhand post written on May 30, 2013

When I think about my so-called bucket list or contemplate the things I would like to do in this lifetime, traveling to the Holy Land really was never on there.

That may come as a surprise coming from a pastor.  Certainly every pastor longs to trod those paths that Jesus walked.  But for me, not really.  It's not that I was not interested.  It's just that when it comes to travel, I've always enjoyed staying closer to home and avoiding the crowds.  Tourist areas don't interest me.  And the Holy Land always seemed to be the Disney World for religious people.  No thank you.

I could not have been more wrong.

Now, the tour is over, but I have not yet left the country.  I am resting on my little hotel balcony, bags packed, with upcoming work responsibilities threatening to penetrate my reverie.  The night-life sounds of Tel Aviv tickle my ears while the cool sea breezes caress my sun-burned skin.  The past eight days are a blur.  But this much is certain - this place, this country, this Holy Land has invaded my soul.

It's a little bit like falling in love.  

There's the nervous fidgeting of introductions, the stunned amazement as preconceptions are re-imagined.  The thrill of each new exciting discovery as mysteries reveal themselves.  The anticipation and giddiness of growing deeper into knowledge and understanding.  Time is consumed, focus is directed, invisible bonds are formed, roots take hold in strange foreign soil, reaching deep for sustenance found in living water.  Awakened passion craves more.  Longings for that which is not yet known give energy for the pursuit.  A desire to please and prove one's worthiness, to grow and expand, to fit in, to protect, to support, to share.

Israel, oh Israel.  You have invaded my soul.  May you come to find me worthy.

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