Mailboxes and Old Barns–The Skies Over Israel

Today’s MBOB  is a transcription of my mother’s travel notes from an 18-day trip to Copenhagen, Cairo, Beirut, Nicosea, Tel Aviv, Caesarea and Jerusalem in the spring of 1972, over 40 years ago.

Early in her planning, she asked each of her seven children if we thought it was a good idea for her to go on this trip.  We certainly did and were so glad she wanted to do it. Her notes reflect her own love of travel, made as they were ten years after Dad’s passing in March of 1962.  This was a significant “solo journey” for her, made with a tour sponsored by a Bible school in Seattle.

Her notes are evidence of her ability to maintain old friendships and enter into new ones; and they remind us that there is much extra-Biblical historical documentation of the journeys and works of Jesus, the Christ.  The Scripture references in the text were in her original notes. Every mention of a city or location is not bold, but the first mention and sometimes additional ones are, if it helps us to “see where we are.”  I have added a few  italicized notes for clarification.  

With Israel being attacked from all sides today,  this narrative seems timely to bring some detail about the sites that are within the sounds of  today’s attacks.

Have you noticed that the Muslims have a great desire to destroy things? Many of the sites Mom saw in 1972 would certainly makes their list of “Things To Atomize.”

The two giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, built in 507 AD and 548 AD were destroyed by the Taliban because Islam considered them idols.    Many religious and secular organizations from around the world pleaded that these cultural artifacts should be spared, to no avail. Christians would certainly consider them, under certain practices, to be idols, but joined the pleas that they should not be destroyed out of respect for the rich heritage represented by such splendid works.

Now the Muslim Brotherhood is moving on with other centuries-old icons in view.  On July 10, 2012, in Front Page Magazine, Raymond Ibrahim reported:

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids—or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi‘i, those “symbols of paganism,” which Egypt’s Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax.    Most recently, Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.”

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2904773/posts

Islam destroys people and art and civilizations. Habitually.  Intentionally.  Deliberately. Repeatedly.   Just because something has stood for thousands and thousands of years, representing a significant portion of a culture’s heritage or history does not mean, in any way, that it will stand when Islam has its way.

If Islam has the opportunity,  the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Wall and the St. Louis Arch will be blown to smithereens.

So will Buckingham Palace, the Arc de Triomphe and The Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (photo at right).

As will Gettysburg and Valley Forge.

This is what they do.  They blow things up that matter to civilized people–objects that mark the memories and events of a people.  No other religion spends the effort to do this, even to their enemies.  Where Islam is concerned, “scorched earth” presumes the destruction of everything and everyone–beginning with their own people.

Many of the landmarks of Europe were spared because of the efforts of the men who planned the bombing runs during World War II.  Even when cathedrals were damaged, or museums went down in spite of those efforts, the fact is that sometimes men died in the effort to spare the best productions of the hearts of civilized society which were in enemy territory, under enemy control.

One caveat regarding my mother’s journal: Her notes end on March 13 with several days of the tour schedule remaining.  I would assume that the wind-down of the trip became very busy as they traveled through Tel Aviv, Athens, Corinth, Rome and Copenhagen in a flurry of arrivals and departures as they headed home, so the writing was set aside; however, I have included the remaining part of the itinerary after the final entries which describe their bus trip to Bethlehem.

So get your coffee and your muffin and let’s see where Edith went and what she was thinking in 1972 when she visited the place that is under attack, once again, today.

March 3, 1972: Left Williston at 5 pm.  Nels and Ann took me down.  We visited Mother before I left.  Had a good night.  Slept some.

March 4: (My brother met her in Minneapolis) F….met me and took me over to Mrs. Elfstrand, as his boys were sick with sore throats and cold and they didn’t want me to get it from them.  Alyce and I went with Lillian and Pearl and Mrs. Bergstrom shopping and we had lunch at a nice place.  Alyce found a dress she thought fit me, so I tried it on, and liked it very much, so bought it.  A navy red and check knit.

March 5: At Alyce Elfstrand.  Mary came over and took us out to a lovely breakfast.  We came home and visited.  About 2 pm, F and M came and I took them out to dinner.  Alyce and Mary had other things to do, so didn’t want to come along.  In the forenoon we also stopped at Mary’s apartment and at Mrs. Bergstrom’s apartment.  Both were very nice.

March 6: Had a quiet forenoon to get the last details done.  Alyce went to work at 8:30.  F came and picked me up at 1:00 pm to go to the airport.  Didn’t take us long to find Dorothy Kluge and Arlene Baker there who were also going on the tour.  They were such easy and friendly ladies to meet.  We left Minneapolis at 3:00 pm.  Arrived at Chicago 4:09 pm, where we met the group from Seattle.  That was very interesting.  F had given me a beautiful orchid corsage when I left Minneapolis.  Many of the others had corsages, too.  We were all so happy and thrilled to be starting on our trip.

March 7:  We have had a beautiful flight over, and at 1:30, we saw a lovely sunrise.  Really a short night.  It was daylight at 1:30.  We arrived at Copenhagen about 4 am our time, but was 10:45 Copenhagen time.  Had lunch here.  Delicious asparagus soup.  We waited 4 1/2 hours here for a plane to Cairo.  We arrived there 12:30 March 8, right after midnight.  Were taken by bus to Shepherd’s Hotel.

Shepherd’s Hotel, Cairo

 We used Skandinavian Airlines from Chicago to Copenhagen, and from there to Cairo.  They were such very good meals on the planes.  Really delicious.  Our hotel in Cairo is right on the River Nile.  There is (sic) lots of palm trees here.  We were down in Cairo shopping.  There’s (sic) so many people selling on the street, we can hardly walk for them, but was fun shopping.  Seems everyone is selling camels.  Any size.  Our 24 people came away from Cairo with about 75 of them.  On our way to Cairo, we landed at Vienna and Istanbul.  Vienna looked beautiful, what we could see from the airport.  They had such modern, nearly all glass buses and the terminal looked so shiny and clean.  Istanbul was a different story–so poorly lit, and in the terminal so few lights on, and everyone looked so dark with their covered heads and long robes and no one spoke English.  So many little shops in the terminal, but we didn’t buy anything. Was dark and scary.

Egyptian Museum

March 8: Cairo.  Weather very nice.  A bus picked us up at 9am.  Dr. Farid was our guide for the day.  A very intelligent and well educated man…he spoke fairly plain English.  It was always very correct, but sometimes they spoke so broken English it was hard to understand.  Dr. Farid was such a fast walker we almost had to run to keep up with him. We visited the large Egyptian Museum first.  Was so interesting.  Dad would surely have enjoyed that.  There were so many statues and things they had excavated from hundreds of years before Christ.  We also went to the Pyramids today.  They are so large and so much rock, we wonder how they ever made them.  Dr. Farid also took us down under the Pyramids thru a sort of tunnel.  It was an experience, but none of us thought we’d want to do that again. Part of the way, we couldn’t stand up.  Had to walk stooped over, but we got down to the lowest level where they had used the room for a burial place.

Mom didn’t ride the camels!

There were many camels and Arabs around here.  Some of our people took rides on the camels.  I didn’t.  They looked too high and were so odd smelling.  I took pictures of them. That suited me better.  The Arabs were very unhappy if we didn’t pay them we had taken pictures.

 Tonight we had a “Light and Sound Show” out by the   pyramids.  Gave the history of Egypt from way back.  It was such a lovely evening, so many stars out.  Was a nice event to see. We had dinner about 9, afterward we watched the boats and all the activity on the Nile River.  The side of the dining room towards the River was all large windows.

Beautiful perfume bottles

In the afternoon our guide took us to a Perfume Shop which was interesting.  As soon as we came in, we were served tea or coffee or soft drinks.  Then after that, he gave his sales talk. We bought perfume, of course.  At least most of us did.  Was an interesting experience.

We were also to a street bazaar in the afternoon.  Was interesting to bargain with the shop keepers.  Some of the group did quite a bit of shopping.  I just bought a ring, a real pretty one.

March 9:  We left Cairo early as our planes left at 7:30.  When we got into the bus, one of our group announced we were all leaving Cairo Airport–24 people plus 40 camels. Seemed like everyone on the street was selling camels or cards or jewelry.  Some places we could hardly walk for these sales people.  We got to Beirut in Lebanon at 9:15 am; stayed until 10:40 am.   Flew from Beirut to Nicosea.  It is a lovely city on the Island of Cyprus.  Cypress is about 150 miles long ranging from 5 to 50 miles wide.

Christians who witnessed the stoning of Stephen (Acts 11:19) returned here and preached the Gospel.  Barnabas and Paul also preached the Gospel here.  (Acts 13:4-12; 21:3; 27:4) Leaving Nicosea at 3:00 pm.  We had arrived here at 11:25 am.  Had a nice lunch We flew to Tel Aviv.  Got here at 4:10 pm.  Tel Aviv is really beautiful, orange groves and fruit trees.  We flew over the Sahara Desert right after we left Cairo.  Was interesting that the Nile and the land on both sides is so green, then all of a sudden we are flying over the desert which is all sand and low sand hills.

Orchards in Israel

We got on a bus at the airport.  Our guide met us there.  It was a lovely ride to Natanya where we had our hotel for the first night in Israel.  We saw so many fruit orchards and green fields, really beautiful.  And everyone looked much cleaner than the folks we’d seen in Cairo (or the small part of it we saw). Another difference was that there were so few children on the streets, and those we saw were in school uniforms and no one selling things.

March 10:  Weather: Perfect, about 70.  Natanya, Hotel Orly.  We have a very nice hotel here.  We boarded our bus and drove to Caeserea.  Was such a pretty ride: Green fields, fruit orchards and orange groves.  Our guide told us how the Jewish jewelry experts and diamond miners fled from Belgium during the war because they feared persecution, and how jewels and fine diamonds have become one of Israel’s main exports.  Up till this time very few diamonds were mined in Israel.  Tourism is one of Israel’s big businesses also and export of citrus fruits.

Also drove through the Plains of Megiddo.  We drove through the Plain of Sharon on our way to Caesarea.  At Caesarea–right on the Mediterranean Coast…this was an ancient port founded by Herod the Great in 22 BC.  It was here that Peter baptized Cornelius and his household, the first Gentile converts (Acts 10) after the Lord had shown Peter a vision showing him that what God has cleansed, he should not call common (Acts 10:10-16).  We saw the stone of Pontius Pilate, the great Roman Theatre from the time of Herod, the Hippodrome and the large aqueducts and we saw part of the ruins from a town the crusaders built.

Caesarea Hippodrome

While we were sitting on the old steps of the Hippodrome and our guide had read from Acts about Peter and Cornelius, a group sightseeing in the other end of the Theater or the ruins started singing “How Great Thou Art.”  It sounded so beautiful.  The sky was so pretty with white fluffy clouds and the Mediterranean Sea was so blue and pretty.  A scene I’ll never forget and a song I’ll never forget.

We have seen many Eucalyptus trees here, also banana trees.  It’s been so pretty driving along the Ocean.  We passed a village of Arabs.  They are so different than the Jews.  Not as energetic nor as clean, but maybe there’s a reason for that.

The Jews channel their rain water into ponds and raise fish there.  The Jewish are so very thrifty and saving.  Caesarea was built 30 years BC.

Saw Mt. Carmel where Elijah prayed for rain.  (I Kings 18:41-45)

Caesarea–Halvor Ronning has been our guide since we started sightseeing here in Israel. We are very fortunate to get a sincere Christian like him.  He reads in the Bible about each place before we stop to look at it.  And he believes the Bible, so he has really added to the enjoyment of our trip.  He took seminary in Luther Seminary, but then he didn’t get a call so decided to go into language study in Germany.  He also studied Hebrews and said it was so easy for him.  Then he went to Jerusalem and fell in love with the Jewish people and felt the Lord had a work for him there.  Ronning met a Finnish girl, daughter of Lutheran Missionaries.  She loves Israel and its people like Ronning does, so they hope to stay there and do mission work.  They have 3 little children.  Ronning had  been recommended by another Lutheran Pastor, so we were fortunate to get him.

Sea of Galilee

Later in the day, we drove through the plains of Megiddo.  We saw Mt. Herman.  It was so pretty with snow on top.  Mt. Herman is believed to be where the Transfiguration of Jesus took place.  We saw (Bethsaida) where Christ fed the 5,000 and went on to Capernaum and we spent a precious hour by the Sea of Galilee.  I can’t put it into words.  Pastor Hedman read from Matthew 5:1-15 and John 21:13-17 and we sang “My Jesus, I Love Thee” and “Break Thou the Bread of Life” and “Beautiful Savior.”  We went on to Capernaum on the Northwest side of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus came here often and taught in the synagogue.  (Mark 2:1; Luke 4:31; John 6:59).  He came so often it was thought of as His home.  He chose Matthew here (Matthew 9:9).  It was the hometown of Simon Peter and Andrew, probably where Jesus told them He would make them Fishers of Men.

Jesus worked many miracles in Capernaum.  He healed the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10); healed Peter’s Mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15; Mark 1:30-31, Luke 4:38-39); the man sick of the palsy (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:18-26) and other miracles here in the synagogue.  Jesus spoke the discourse on the Bread of Life (John 6:1-59); Jesus reproved the people of Capernaum because they did not accept His teachings (Matthew 11:23-24).  There is so much lava rock around here, and the lava stone steps of the synagogues (hills are covered with volcanic boulders) are still there, or parts of them, and not fenced off.  We can walk on them and sit on them and think about the time when Jesus was here.

Thank you, Jesus, for permitting me to come here.  We drove to our Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar.  Had a good dinner here.  Was a real nice Kibbutz!

March 11: We left after a 7:30 breakfast (by bus) for Shechem.  Joseph went to Shechem to look for his brother, then they sold him to Egyptian traders)…Shechem–or Nablus.  Abraham (Genesis 12:6-8) built his first altar here to worship God.  Jacob also built an altar here to worship God (Genesis 33:18-20; Joseph’s body was brought to Shechem for burial (Joshua 24:31).  We saw the ruins of Herod’s and Ahab’s Palaces here.  At Nablus or the old city Shechem we  stopped at Jacob’s well where Jesus talked about living water to the woman from Sychar.  We drank water from the well.  What a thrill to be here.

Market in Jericho

After lunch at a nice restaurant, we (went) on the way to Jericho and the Dead Sea.  Jericho was so lovely.  Many palm trees and flowering trees and bushes.  There is desert all around Jericho, but Jericho is just a real garden spot.  It is west of the Jordan River (17 miles from Jerusalem) just north of the Dead Sea.  Joshua 6 tells of when the walls of Jericho fell after the armed men of Israel had gone around the city once each day for six days, carrying the Ark of the Covenant and seven priests blowing on trumpets, on the 7th day they went around 7 times and on a signal all the priests blew their trumpets and the walls of Jericho fell down and the people of Israel went in and killed many people or all except Rahab and her family, because she saved the spies of Israel and protected them.  We drove on to the Dead Sea and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Was very interesting.  I had read the book G and G gave Dad in 1958, a few years after they were found (1947).  Close by there we came to a small sports car that had hit loose gravel and flipped over on its top.  The two young tourists driving it had crawled out and weren’t hurt, so the men from our bus helped them get it right side up and they drove off again.  The top and one side was dented, but otherwise wasn’t hurt.

They are still excavating around the caves.  Very interesting.  These caves are at Qumrum.  We drove back to our Kibbutz at supper time (a different one than the night before).  Not quite as nice, but we got along fine and we learned a lot about the Jewish communes.  This one is close to Jerusalem. 

Old Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives

Jerusalem is 33 miles east of the Mediterranean and 14 miles west of the Dead Sea.

March 12: Jerusalem.  After a good breakfast (boiled eggs, cereal, grated carrots, pickled herring, pepper and onion salad, coffee, tea, bread and jam) our bus took us into Jerusalem.  We were about 7 or 8 miles out of town.  We walked around in the old part of Jerusalem till church time.  The streets are so narrow here that no cars or buses come in here.  There are many shops all along these narrow streets.  So many things took place here in Jerusalem.  We are left deep in thought and can’t put it into words.

Jesus was brought to the temple as a tiny infant according to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:3) and again when He was 12 (Luke 2:40-52) and also (John 2:13-25; 7:14-53) and many other times.  His final entry was when they strewed palms before Him the Sunday before He was crucified.  Jesus instituted the Last Supper in the upper room here in Jerusalem (Matthew 26:17-30).  We were in that room.  Jesus’ trial took place in Jerusalem; and after His Resurrection, He appeared to His disciples in the city.

The disciples also waited in the Upper Room for the Holy Spirit after Jesus had gone back to heaven–it was near Bethany close to Jerusalem that Jesus ascended into heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:8-11).  Paul also journeyed to Jerusalem where he conferred with the disciples, visited the temple and preached the Gospel.  We saw the wailing wall that is part of Herod’s Temple and was preserved by the Romans when they destroyed Jerusalem 70 years after Christ lived there.* (see note below)

Blowing the Shofar at the Wailing Wall

March 13 The wall is about 50 yards long, 60 feet high.  One stone is 16 1/2 feet long and 13 feet wide.

The octagonal shaped mosque with its golden dome and brilliant blue Persian tiles is built over what is believed to be Mount Moriah where Abraham took his son to offer to God in obedience to His command (Genesis 22:1-2).

The Eastern or Golden Gate of Jerusalem was built where they thought Jesus made His triumphal entry.  This gate was sealed shut in 1530 by the Turkish Governor of Jerusalem, in hope of postponing the day of Judgment and the end of the world.  Many Christians believe that when Jesus comes again, the Gate will be opened and He will once again enter the Holy City.  (Ezekiel 44:1-3)  If it were open, it is the only Gate that would lead directly into the Temple Area.  Under the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, we see some of the pavement Christ walked on and we also see the prison cell of Barabbas.

The Via Dolorosa

We walked down the Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows where Christ carried His cross (John 19:5; John 19:13).  Again, we are all quiet and have no words to express our thoughts.  I think most of us are in silent prayer of thanksgiving to Christ for dying for our sins on the cross.

Yesterday, we ate dinner at a cafeteria, the only one we’ve seen here.  Food was real good.  This forenoon, we came in on our bus and it stayed with us.  I forgot to say in yesterday’s writeup that we were to a Lutheran Church that is pictured on the outside of a book Edna Andersen gave me when I was 10 years old.  The name of the book “Scenes from the Holy Land.”  We had a communion service there.  It was a soul searching time, when we were permitted to partake of the Lord’s Supper so close by where Jesus had instituted it and also thinking about all the times Jesus had been around there.

Our bus took us to Bethlehem.  It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem.  That was a great experience also.

(Her daily notes ended here.  Following is the balance of their itinerary)

March 15   Tel Aviv to Athens

The stone was not rolled away so He could get out ….it was rolled away so they could get in.

March 17   To Corinth by bus

March 18   Leave Athens to go to Rome

March 19   In Rome

March 20  Leave Rome to go to Copenhagen

March 21  Leave Copenhagen to go to Minneapolis (via Seattle)

*The crucifixion occurred A.D. 31 and Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70 (not “70 years after Christ lived there” as Mom wrote it…a written typo, I expect!)

Here’s an interesting bit about the destruction of the walls:  “On September 8, A.D.70 the Roman general Titus broke down the Jerusalem walls and captured the city.  A false rumor had been spread among the Roman troops that the Jews had used gold instead of mortar to hold together the beautiful marble stones of the Temple.  The soldiers thus literally pried apart every stone in their fruitless search to discover this gold.” (Wilmington’s Guide To The Bible, p. 321)  The fact that no stone would be left on another in the temple walls was specifically prophesied by Christ during His ministry. (Matthew 24:1, 2)

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18 Responses to Mailboxes and Old Barns–The Skies Over Israel

  1. Pingback: Mailboxes and Old Barns–The Skies Over Israel | The Last Refuge | Nail It To The Cross

  2. cajunkelly says:

    Wow….just wow. My Dad took this same tour at about the same time. I wonder….no, would be too much off a coincidence.

    He has talked hundreds and hundreds of times about walking “via Dolorosa” and weeping as he did so.

    Being a minister, when they visited the Jordon River, several asked him, and he gladly did, baptize them there. Then he asked a fellow minister to baptize him.

    He went down into the catacombs of Rome. He visited the Garden of Gethsemane, and prayed there. He visited the “upper room”, and the tomb of Jesus.

    He took literally hundreds of pictures and had them developed into slides. Over the years he has done many presentations, using these slides, for various groups and churches. I have those slides, probably a dozen “racks” of them.

    He wrote letters home to Mom during that time, and I have all those letters.

    For all us kids, he brought back small bibles with olive wood backing, and small carvings of camels, also in olive wood. I think I’m the only child who still has those items. They are in a special place on a shelf in my living room as I type. (oddly enough, I just dusted them yesterday)

    You’ve set me on a mission. I’m going to ask Dad (if he still has the mental capacity to do so) to write a simple journal of that trip. I know it was a life changing experience for him. Maybe I’ll give him a small recorder and he can document his travels easier that way.

    These are just a few of the sites I remember him visiting, and I know I’m missing a LOT, but I was young, and didn’t fully understand the significance of his trip.

    In light of current events, I find myself needing to know it all now.

    (BTW, kudos to your Mom! She’s a very good journalist.) :)

    • Sharon says:

      My mother died in 1997, 15 years ago already, at the age of 93. It’s amazing and fun to have this opportunity to scatter her writing across the innertubes! She could never have imagined. In fact, I’m sure she would say, “Oh, Sharon! My scribblings aren’t good enough for that…..” She never thought herself either a thinker or a writer. Throughout their marriage, and in what we saw in our home life, she left the “speaking up” to our Dad. But both Dad and Mom were constant, 24/7, whenever-they-had-a-moment readers.

      CK, I would encourage you to transcribe your Dad’s letters. I think you might be pleasantly astounded at what is contained in them by way of documentation of his trip. And surely include a recorded/transcribed memory as well. My oldest brother did recorded interviews with elderly men in our family, which really worked very well. Then he transcribed those interviews to be shared in the family.

      The information is all “out there” for us, and–goodness me–with the equipment each of us has at our fingertips, let’s grab it and….and use it to restore our nation.

      All of my aunts and uncles are gone now, my parents long gone, and half of my siblings. Some of you still have parents and aunts and uncles–document. Record. Transcribe. Duplicate. Share. It’s all there….the Mailboxes and Old Barns of our nation are right there. Everyone’s Mailboxes and Old Barns are, in fact, both national foundation and national treasure.

  3. Cyrano says:

    I’m sort of speechless. I now see where you got it from. Thank you for sharing. I got caught up in it, and opened a google map in another browser and followed along with the Israel part. Thanks again

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you. My parents lived their lives with thoughtfulness and gratitude…and I’m so glad for the things they recorded verbally, in photos and in writing.

      • Cyrano says:

        You’re welcome. By the way, I read with great interest your thoughts on Middle Eastern Muslims. This is important to me, because you summarized exactly how I view them as well. I know from reading your Sunday Morning post for a few months now that you are a good and caring person. You do not want to hate anyone, but you see what you see with great clarity. It’s important to me that people like you affirm how I feel, because I am constantly questioning my own thought processes. It is very difficult to believe that a whole region of people are inherently evil, but , as they say “It is what it is.” I think we should act WITH Israel to end this once and for all. We should evacuate the Gaza Strip AND southern Lebanon, declare that there will never be a Palestine as long as there is an America, and establish military bases within the evacuated areas and let it be known that we are anxious to exercise those troops stationed there. We need to affect a complete attitude change in the region. We need to get respect, and people who are consumed with hate only respect others who hate. We need to stop apologizing and make them think we hate them, and can’t wait to eradicate them. We sent out troops to the wrong country after 911. There weren’t any afghans on those planes. Enough for now. Sorry for the rant.

        • Sharon says:

          Thanks for these additional thoughts. It’s an interesting dilemma that we normally acquiescent folks face when we are confronted by intractable evil and violence. With the additional factor of faith-based living, we feel ourselves “caught” in a way that is easily used against us by those who want to destroy us.

          Christians specifically have done a good job of confusing themselves and others on the business of fighting evil without being evil; confronting hatred without being hateful; shooting dead those who are shooting at our toddler son or aged Granny without having murder in our hearts. It is possible to address these dilemmas, but it’s not simple.

          The Scriptures plainly warn against murdering people. And the Scriptures plainly indicate that killing people is not always murder. Two completely different issues that are too often smeared together in such a way that neither one makes any sense any more.

          I was struck by how my mother, a quiet country farm wife with an 8th grade country school education, steeped in Lutheranism, clearly sensed, smelled, identified and cringed away from the darkness and evil she sensed at various points on the trip. Although she used gentle language to express what she felt, there really is no doubt about what she was observing, feeling and thinking.

          I don’t have to be spewing hatred and filthy curses to fight back…but because, like many, I grew up in a context where no voices were never raised and verbal arguments were verboten, I’m just now learning how to be both clean and articulate: cleanliness was next to Godliness in our home, so I had the clean part down, but articulate and courageous confrontation–not so much.

          • GracieD says:

            Sharon, I love the ability that you have to say the truth in love. I am still working on the saying it in love part, as I have little patience for those who are willfully blind. You always know the right thing to say, and I appreciate that, and you!

  4. akathesob says:

    WOW! No really wow… Love it and a must share…

  5. 22tula says:

    Thank You Sharon for sharing Your Mother’s Letters and her travel experience. She had a gift of placing you beside her as she walk the roads of Jerusalem. I agree with Cyrano – speechless and “I now see where you got it from” Than You for taking the time to Post your Mom’s experience.

  6. Auntie Lib says:

    It’s taken me all day to get the time to really read and digest this post. Thank you again, Sharon. I can just hear your Mom – her voice comes through so clearly.

  7. cajunkelly says:

    Sharon,
    I just spoke with my Dad…he has more letters than I currently own…he is giving them to me. He’s also agreed to voice record his travels…he’s 84 and his handwriting is now worse than any doctor’s.

    I think I once shared the fact that his sistr (his only surviving sibling) wrote journals her entire adult life, about the hardships they faced in the delta during the depression. She trusted me with those journals long enough to transcribe them, then my computer crashed before I printed them out. :(

    He’s going to speak with her this week and talk her into allowing me access to them just long enough to make a run to Office Depot to copy them…*in total*.

    The sad truth is that *her* children don’t care a whit about such things. She has the wash pot that her Dad bought for her when she was thirteen….a “hope chest” item I guess. Her kids don’t want it. She is in well into her nineties. That wash pot is a tangible piece of history. No monetary value, but for me, it’s a connection to my past. I have the deer hyde bottomed straight back chair that was Dad’s from the time he was a toddler. Each family member had their own chair. There are marks on it where he chewed the top back rail, and gouges where he whittled on it with his first pocket knife. Those things have value beyond money to me.

    • Sharon says:

      Oh, CK, that is all beyond excellent! Wow. I think in our family, I’m sort of like you are: I’m the youngest of 7 and none of the 5 older sibling seemed to have much interest in receiving the old tangible things. So as the years wore on, I have gotten more and more of them, including those things given my brother just above me, who was interested…now he’s passing what he has of hers and Dad’s stuff to me as well. We are blessed that both of our sons value these evidences of blessing and courage, and tell the story of our heritage. I don’t know how much room! either of them will have for “all the stuff”….so we sift it out.

      I’m so pleased that your Dad is willing to work with you to capture these things. That is just excellent. And that you may be able to have access again to your aunt’s journals. Keep us posted on how that goes.

      • Cyrano says:

        Do you have the ring she bought in Egypt? If you do would you post a picture of it?

        • Sharon says:

          I don’t have it. I’m sorry to say I never “locked in” on which item of jewelry it actually was….it may have been given to a granddaughter in her 80’s….she was downsizing, and with 19 grandchildren, there were things sometimes going this way and that, which was a fine…we just couldn’t all keep track of what she had and where it was going.

          • Cyrano says:

            Ok…I was just hoping. She had the poet’s touch of making the least little thing come alive and be of interest to the reader. And she wasn’t even trying!! What a gift! Good night.

  8. texan59 says:

    Thank you once again.

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