Tag Archives: people

Again; That Guy: Part II

Again I saw that guy. It’s like everywhere I go either he is nearby or I couldn’t help overhear someone that was obviously talking about him or something else he’d done.

jerusalem crowd

I couldn’t forget the priests in the temple among the debris, the image stuck in my mind. It’s like an earworm, but irrepressible. I hate the way the image makes me feel fearful, and I’m annoyed with myself that it bothers me. I’m exasperated that I haven’t found my friend – we agreed to meet at the Temple Gate. All I want is to be ready for the Passover.

I couldn’t go a block without hearing someone talking about the incident at the temple. People seemed obsessed; both excited and upset. I actually heard someone say that guy touched some blind, crippled and terminally sick people who afterward could suddenly see, walk and are no longer sick at all. How could that be? I must get to my business.

Shortly after eating, I was walking off my meal when I saw the guy again – coming toward me. I wanted to turn and walk the other way – where that guy went there was trouble. But as if the air between us was charged with some peculiar energy that drained me of my will, I couldn’t move.

The guy was not exceptionally tall, but as he moved closer he looked straight through the crowd surrounding him, right into my eyes. All motion seemed to stop – I was captivated, as if his face drew me closer. I suddenly felt as if the guy saw my entire history, knew my unspoken thoughts. I again wanted to leave, but I couldn’t. Distinctively unnerved, I wanted protection from him. For an instant a notion to call for a guard briefly flitted across my mind – I am such a hypocrite.

The moments seemed like hours and then before I knew it he continued moving on with his group. Like an idiot I stood there until I realized people were bumping into me as they passed in every direction. I checked for my bag and feeling it there I started walking again, aimlessly drifting with the crowd.

Later, making my way back to the temple, I heard people saying, “Heaven… wind… light… and Jesus.” I honestly don’t know why, but I am entirely unnerved. I feel drained, exposed, and remarkably uneasy. I long to find my friend and secure a place to stay the night.

“…A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.”
John 3:27 (NLT)

Featured Image courtesy ABSFreePic

Originally posted on What’s Next on 2016 March 22

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Who is That Guy? Part I

I can’t say why I’ve been coming most of my life. Every year. I want to honor and worship the Almighty One, but this annual journey seems futile, especially within Rome’s grip. Still, something in me brings me back.

Every year I scrimp and save to be here for the Passover. Every year I think it is going to be special. And every year by the time I get here, I am so worn and weary from trepidation, travel, the crowds of people, all clamoring to get on with it, the whole point seems to get lost. And yet I come.

jerusalem

When I arrived this morning, later than I intended, people seemed somehow livelier than ever before. I noticed palm leaves laying everywhere. I wondered if another dignitary had arrived, but looking around as I walked, I saw nothing special.

It took longer than usual to get to the temple. Once I reached the outer court that old feeling crept in again. I don’t like admitting it, but I feel conflicted, kind of resentful about the vendors lining the walls. I get that they offer a convenience for travelers who didn’t bring offerings. Ya gotta make a living somehow. Right? Still, so many times I’ve noticed inferior animals. I’m not gonna lie, I wonder how they justify that. But it’s none of my business.

After a while, I was glad to have found a space in the shade to rest a moment. Casually watching people passing through the gate, suddenly there was this guy. I don’t understand why I noticed him coming from yards away. Though he seemed to be with a group, he distinctly stood out. Steady, serene, he looked like a man with a purpose. He didn’t look particularly special, and yet I couldn’t stop watching him.

I watched his entire being seem to darken as he took in the court, his face visibly changed; he seemed to become troubled. For some reason my thoughts raced about what he might be thinking. Why? What is it about him? I don’t know him.

Though I saw the hawkers calling to him, I couldn’t look away from him. All of a sudden it seemed the whole court blew up. The guy went to a table, took a hold of one end and flipped it over! People jumped and scurried as he went on flipping the tables over, birds, animals and coins scattered everywhere.

Who is this guy?!

I wanted to run from what would be certain trouble, but I  couldn’t move. Over the noise, confusion and excitement, I heard him speak from across the court – loudly without raising his voice; intense words about his father, a house of prayer, a den of thieves. What the…?

Then I noticed the priests across the court stepping back, talking into one another’s ears. They looked shocked, confused and then outraged. The moment I looked away the guy was gone from sight. I saw an opening in the crowd and dodged out.

It’s been hours since the temple upset. Quiet now, everyone around me sleeps, but I can’t stop thinking about that guy. As if something deep within me wants to find him, talk to him, listen to him – and warn him about the priests. This is so strange. It’s none of my business.

It’s late. I am tired but I can’t rest. God, help me understand!

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17 (NIV)

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Originally posted on What’s Next 2016 March 21

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Multilingual

crowd

A big part of my life is a fondness for languages. Fellow bloggers around the world employing Spanish and French phrases captivate me. I like to comment likewise, however I noticed lately how often I check and cross-check translations.

Entering high school I wanted to become a translator, work for humanity to promote world peace. With my family’s church upbringing, I had a decent grasp of Latin by then, so I methodically set out to conquer the Romance languages. I remember learning quickly with remarkable retention and I just knew everything would simply fall into place.

Come enrollment I elected advanced Spanish, French 101 and German 101 classes. All. At. Once. I thought it would be a cakewalk. My cake however turned to mush in the first quarter.

I put my formal education on hold and became fluent in toddler and preschooler instead. Over the years as we moved from neighborhood to neighborhood, region to region, I liked to try out what I remembered from school, but my Spanish and French were likely more entertaining than understandable – my neighbors quickly chose to begin most of our conversations in English.

Fast forward a few years, at a highway rest stop I struck up a conversation in Spanish with another traveler. Isn’t it funny how candor comes easily with a familiar stranger? I confessed being a little apprehensive about returning to the City after living in the country for several years. She responded, “Chica, simplemente ser uno mismo y todo estará bien!” (You’ll be fine, You just do you Boo-Boo).

And she was right.

I’ve forgotten far more about languages than I’ll ever learn again. I’m humbled to have accepted being multilingual slid down my priority list. Still, everywhere I go people clearly understand kindness, humility and respect.

I still believe communication is the cornerstone to peace. As is kindness and good manners. I also believe while it should not be mandated, people do themselves a disservice not learning the languages of at least their bordering countries – preferably when they are quite young. And I’ve experienced, as with much of life, if we don’t hone our skills, we get dull.

Today I can greet in about four languages, but without my backup devices I initiate conversation in English. I won’t be applying anywhere as a translator any time soon but I’ll never stop working toward world peace.

 

“… be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

 

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