Does Israel Even Exist?

I have somehow managed to get myself back into the swing of living at home. I am acclimating much better than I did last summer I am glad to say. I have made my list of goals to work on and areas in life that I would like to improve. One of those goals is to read daily. I have quite the issue with reading at home for some reason, so that requires me to get out of the house (definitely not a bad thing, otherwise I’d go stir crazy). After several days of trying out different locations, the Coffee Bean on Pavilion Center next to Costco has received the gift of my everyday presence. After Just a few days I’m even getting to know some of the employees who are already enjoying teasing me for my abundant water intake during my time here.

So while I have finally made a decision as to where I will spend several hours of my day, I seem to have made the decision with what seems to be some subconscious bias. The first day that I sat in this Coffee Bean my coffee cup was wearing its usual sleeve to keep my hands from burning, but low and behold, The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas was what was advertised on it. Naturally, any type of Jewish reference or anything throws my mind to Israel. After laughing at the coincidence, I read for a while and then during one of my many breaks (so that my mind didn’t go numb from information overload) I overhead a conversation between two women waiting for their drinks. The topic? You guessed it: Israel. Then just a few short minutes later two women and a little girl walked in, unmistakably, they were Jewish. I thought that very coincidental, not to mention strange, yet very amusing.

Yesterday, as I was doing my reading/writing/enjoying the friendly Coffee Bean staff, a man walked in with two of whom I assumed were his daughters. Immediately he caught my eye, not because he was good looking or anything of that nature, in fact he was a bit homely, but because his shirt was maroon with bright yellow lettering that read, “Masada…I came…I saw…I climbed.” I broke into a smile immediately.

Today, again, as I was reading and debating if it was time to start my large amounts of water consumption, I was distracted by a man who walked in dressed head to toe in a very nice black suit and tie topped with an overly sized brimmed hat…and that my friends is what we call an Orthodox Jew. The mere sight of that man flashed so many pictures and memories from my time in Israel back through my mind.

The point of all that is to say, that unintentionally the place that I chose to spend a lot of my time is a place that seems to consistently remind me of Israel. I know that I haven’t been away from the Holy Land for too long, but lately it feels like it might not have even existed. Last night I couldn’t sleep. I looked through pictures of a friend who is currently in Jerusalem at JUC with APU. My heart physically ached. I miss it. I miss that place, those people, that culture. When I knock myself out of that dream land of remembering my time there and I look around it is almost unreal that I am here, driving, sleeping in a room alone, running errands in huge malls with no hospitality or bargaining. I get so settled back into my life here that I often forget how much time I spent there and the things that I learned. As I’m reading for my classes in the fall, I find that I am realizing how different things are going to be than my semester in Jerusalem. I read something today and went to reach for my foundations map to look at something and realized that I wasn’t carrying it. That was strange, I always carry it.

I guess all in all there aren’t many differences, but it seems that all the little things add up and I feel like the hole is bigger than it really is. I thank God that my semester in Israel was as amazing as it was. I thank God that in this time where I was beginning to feel that Israel didn’t even exist, he lead me to a spot where I am almost constantly reminded of the experiences that I had there. I leave you with this realization (once again), Our God Shows Up.

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