Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today! Our Sis in Jerusalem takes us on the bus in this letter .. .always a beautiful experience. God bless you and thank you for reading and praying for Israel and our sis there! Now, here she is . ..
Greetings dear sisters and brothers, in the midst of such a changing and shaking world…may we be found with His kingdom enlarging itself within us so that we might be ‘hidden in The Rock’ bringing others with us when the time comes.
May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed!
I grew up riding the NYC subways and the events of the past week caused me to think about them. As I rode to and from work over the past few days, I found myself writing in my head. I wondered about the people that used to ride those trains when I was young. I didn’t care about them, I’m sorry to say. So I took a look around at those riding with me today. Each one has his own story. We see people daily on public transportation and then, one day they are gone from our lives. I looked around the bus yesterday morning and almost laughed out loud. What a motley bunch of characters ride that 6:30am bus! I’ve told you before that I felt as if the bus has much more character then the train…and…well…perhaps I should have said many more ‘characters’ as well!
I smiled as I was greeted by one of my favorite drivers yesterday. Where most bus drivers set their radio to popular music, this driver plays CLASSICAL music mid-day…very unusual…indeed the only one I know of in the city. However in the morning he dials his radio to ‘reshet gimmel’, (network 3) the ‘all Israeli nostalgia station’ that plays only old Israeli songs. They are wonderful and the whole bus taps their feet or sings along. It can get pretty emotional at times as this bus serves an unusually large number of ‘mentally different’ people. Some are retarded and some are downs syndrome, but others are just ‘unique’. They ride out to the neighborhood of Talpiot where they employed in a number of ‘sheltered’ jobs and it is really a very congenial bus…sort of like family. (you generally don’t get many ‘new’ people on the 6:30am route) So, what do you do with ‘family’? You introduce them to people whom you love. That’s you! So, let me introduce you to those whom I ride with daily, morning by morning. I warn you…none of them have names. You will meet them by the character that they openly display in the morning.
You have already met the driver. He is a burley man, but shy. Most drivers are rather shy and have A LOT of PATIENCE! That must be a requirement for driving public transportation here. In Israeli buses there are many signs. They are not advertisements but little notices that are mostly ignored. Right under the sign that says ‘Do NOT put your feet on the seats’ will be someone with their feet on the seats. The front two seats have a special notice that encourages people to leave those seats for the elderly or infirm. One sign is taken from the book of Proverbs exhorting people to ‘rise before the grey bearded’. You will undoubtedly find young people sitting here. BUT…Some older people (or infirm) (OR crazies) stand their ground! On the 6:30 bus, the front seat is currently under contention: ‘The woman who had cancer treatment at the same time as I did’ (but like me, is fine now, thank God) loves to get on, set all of her bags and purse down on the second seat and begin to read. She is relatively young. She ALWAYS looks surprised and a bit indignant when ‘crazy newly immigrated from America Viet-Nam veteran’ gets on and demands the seat beside her. She slowly (painfully slowly!) removes her packages, gets up, and has him scoot in. He wears a series of striking tee shirts…all of them concerning the Marines in Viet-Nam and veterans. He only wears one other tee shirt that says (and I quote) “You say the word ‘psycho’ as if it were bad!”. He has a frighteningly hostile attitude and ANYTHING can set him off cursing and screaming, and even swinging. He doesn’t know Hebrew and reads the Jerusalem Post daily. I am praying much for this man and waiting for the right opening to talk with him…I feel as if he is one whom The Lord has put in my path. Back in the 60s when my contemporaries fought in the war, I was a very hostile, aggressive and arrogant ‘peacenik’…and I have had a number of opportunities since meeting Yeshua to comfort some of those who fought. Perhaps this man will be one. He doesn’t hear well. It is humorous to see him explain that in English to the retarded man speaking Hebrew who then says ‘My lips are curled so I don’t speak well.’ The bus moves on. A very heavy woman sits down across from me and unwraps a HUGE sandwich, devouring it in minutes. This is her daily ritual. A religious man who works as a security guard at the shuk greets me. A friendly government worker who speaks an abundance of languages sits across the aisle studying Chinese and telling the man across from him that he is hoping to go to China for a visit soon. A religious woman gets on and gives the newspaper to another mentally challenged man who sits behind me. He is so grateful for it and reads it from beginning to end before he leaves the bus and hands it to the equally grateful driver. An older religious woman caught my eye several years ago and we have struck up quite a friendship. She is a master teacher at a religious grammar school and I love listening to her stories and insights. She was born up north, on the border with Lebanon and has a naiveté about her that is so refreshing. She, on the other hand, is fascinated by my life, and I am praying for a time to share with her as well. I have shared with her that my husband, as a Christian, was reading the Bible and suddenly said ‘It says here that all Jews should live in Israel. You and the girls are Jewish. We must need to move to Israel.’ (true by the way!) She was amazed. May our conversations grow in depth and purpose! There are a number of religious people who are reading Psalms in the morning and at certain points they stand up and face the Old City (Temple Mount) to pray. We also have a number of Arabs, Moslem and Christian, on the bus. Such a mix and all getting along just fine, helping one another; teachers and mentally challenged, Moslems and religious Jews, secular and non secular…each one trying to start the day on the right foot and earn a way to provide for their families. We smile at one another.
I have grown to love the people on my bus and I miss them when they ‘suddenly disappear’ from my life with no other name known to me then ‘The man who never combs his hair in the morning’ and the like. So many people cross our paths. Lord, help us to know and take advantage of every open door You give us!
On a personal note, I want to apologize for all of the letters that I owe to so many of you who have encouraged me. This time of adjustment to the changes we are experiencing has been hard…and has taken a bit of a toll on my health. I hope to be back in place of writing again soon. Thank you for bearing with me, and mostly, thank you for your prayers for our family and for our nation.
Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem