Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today as our sis in Jerusalem shares from her heart about what is going on around her. Thank you and God bless you as you read and pray! Now , here she is . ..
What a week this has been…and it has barely started…it is only Tuesday! I look back at the letter that I sent out and think about the incredible Joy that The Lord had filled me with and smile at how He is faithful to prepare us for the long road ahead, eh?
So where should I begin? With the elections today? With the ifi conference? With being in the emergency room from 3pm till 3am last night? With the crazy window to Israeli society that I viewed on Sunday at the post office and other ‘lines’? Hum. With God’s strength, and if it is for His glory, I will mention them all.
And…yes…I will get back to our full night in the emergency room update later on. Sigh. He IS ‘GOOD’, isn’t He!
Today is election day in Israel, and if the campaigning has been embarrassing and annoying, the day itself has been the opposite. We have been here for more then 18 years now, and have participated in many elections, but something about todays election was ‘charged’. Election day is a full public holiday in Israel except for transport and medical services and who ever chooses to remain open. With schools closed, family outings are considered high priority, and they usually begin at the polls themselves, where families arrive with their children (and even the family dog!) to experience the freedom of voting. It is fun to watch each parent explain the system in detail to their children. Although we are considered one of the ‘highest’ tech nations in the world, our voting system could be called ‘old fashioned’. I like it. We each received a card in the mail telling us where our voting station was and which room our name would be found it. Early this morning we joined the throng walking in the road (since the sidewalks are still piled high with fallen trees and limbs) toward our local station. My husband was using a cane (explanation below) and I was touched by how many neighbors whom I don’t know but whom he does, stopped him to ask what had happened. At the Wizo center, we looked for our room and a kindly woman said, ‘Oh, let me see your card. You are right here!’ she said smiling. Our upstairs neighbors, toting three children, turned around to visit with us. Only one person is allowed in the voting room at a time, so we stand on line outside the room. One by one we entered the room and turned over our teudot zehut (id) cards, had our names checked off on a type written list, and were handed an envelope. One by one we walked behind a plastic shield and faced a small table containing some 37 piles of cards, each one with Hebrew letters on it representing a party. I recalled my first panicky voting experience when I was overwhelmed by all of the letters and couldn’t remember which one represented the party that I wanted to vote for! This time I easily slipped my card into the envelope and deposited it in the cardboard box in the center of the room. All of the votes are set to be hand counted by tomorrow morning at around 10am- polls closing at 10pm tonight.
So…I did NOT make it to the opening ifi meeting –which I had so looked forward to and which I expected my husband to come to – last night where we prayed for today’s electionsL. Since Shabat my husband had been complaining of lower back pain and it really seemed to get severe. He did an x-ray yesterday, but when we could not get a timely orthopedist appointment, at 3:00 I suggested that we go to ‘terem’, the ‘pre-emergency room’ services that we have here. I packed my Bible, expecting to leave for the conference from there, however they were uncertain of what was going on and sent us to the emergency room. I have described our hospitals to you many times in the past. The system here is very different then that in America and many other countries, but we have gotten used to it and we went home and brought provision for a very long wait. Sitting in the large waiting room, one by one you go to triage. If you are ambulatory, you return to the waiting room to be called back in periodically for this test or that, and if you are not ambulatory, you are sent to the ‘bed ward’. As yesterday dragged into last night, we were ‘ambulatory’ and so we watched a long parade of dramas carried out before our eyes…the interplay of human pain and compassion between a mixture of people…old and young, rich and poor, Arab and Jew, religious and secular. There was a young handcuffed prisoner with leg chains, visiting for hours with his ‘guard’. A number of soldiers came in. Many people fell asleep and others ate and ate and ate or cried or played games on cell phones. Everybody comforted the few ‘wounded’ children. By 3am it was finally determined, that my husband has a ‘closed fracture of the pelvis’. It came as a surprise and we are not sure how it happened. Armed with pain killers, papers to take to the orthopedist and fatigue, we took a taxi home to digest the fact that he would, once again, be needing to close his business for a bit.
I had so been looking forward to attending the conference on both Monday night and today, Tuesday morning and now I was not only missing both of the meetings that I could attend, but being faced with the changed reality of our situation once again.
But isn’t this true of all of our lives, and not something peculiar to us here. Stress, change, crisis…these are the tools used so skillfully in His Hands to change us and mold our character. I tried to remember this as I quieted my heart toward driving fears away and resting in Him. I missed my 4:30 am call to time alone with Him and didn’t wake until 7! That dashed all hopes of being at prayer meeting by 9. I had to get my husband’s breakfast, walk the dog, go to vote and get his pain meds purchased. (his doctors were not working today) I prayed for the morning meeting and took my quiet time with The Lord. He is faithful.
Now. None of this is what I had planned to be writing to you! Sunday morning I had to mail a box to our daughter. That should have been a fairly easy mundane task that no one would consider writing about, but I had MUCH opportunity to remember that one of the VERY first things that we were told during the ‘absorption process’ when we made aliyah (immigrated) was that ‘In Israel you should never plan to do more then one task in a day.’ This had been a great mystery to us. What on earth could they mean? They explained that you do NOT, for example, want to plan to go to the post office AND the bank in the same day or you will be very frustrated. It has taken me 18 years to FULLY understand this and laugh a hearty laugh, although things are MUCH easier now then they were 18 years ago! Example: I entered the post office and took a number and a seat. Eighteen years ago there were NEITHER numbers nor seats. You literally BATTLED for a place as there also was no such thing as a line. Shouts and fights were the rule of the game. We have gotten MUCH more user friendly. I looked at my number. 97. I looked up at the screen…it read number 48. There were 2 clerks. I looked around; yep! There were about 50 people crowded in to the room…and it was only 9am on Sunday! A young man got up and kindly gave me his seat. I took out a book. A half hour later I fell asleep for awhile. I woke up and read some more. An old man shuffled up to the clerk; ‘I just want to buy one stamp.’ A hew and cry went up ‘What is your number!!’ He got his stamp and left. Israeli post offices aren’t just post offices. They are ‘postal banks’, we pay our bills there, we change car ownership there, we file government forms there, and there is a whole array of services offered that I still don’t fully understand…and they can be very time consuming. There are not separate counters for different services…so after 2 hours and 10 minutes it was finally my turn, and I thought about how much easier it is to do business at the post office now that they have numbers and seats…but it is STILL hard to need to do more then one bureaucratic task in a day without being exhausted! It was now after 11 and I ran to the shuk.
That was what I had wanted to describe to you BEFORE all of the rest happened. I simply hoped to share a day in normal Jerusalem life amid the world shaking events swirling around us.
The polls are about to close here in Israel…another 15 minutes. There is a strong sense of anticipation. Will God be gracious to us or is His judgment also touching us in this way. We are not citizens of the kingdoms of this world, even though we vote here and pray for those in office. We are citizens of a different kingdom and need to see with eyes of that kingdom. I am in the process. Here goes. May we each walk in His balance, in this world but not be OF this world. By the time you read this you will likely know who our next prime minister is. He already knows. God bless you and thank you for your prayers.
Lovingly, your sis here.