I've not abandoned my blog since returning from the Holy Land but have found I just don't quite know where or how to start again. Postings and photos for the last week became more of a travel log and record pictures than I had intended but I found that with the busyness of the days I didn't have a huge amount of time to engage in personal reflections and I knew that several people wanted to see where I was each day.. It's not easy to put my thoughts into order because we saw so many different places and experienced such a wide variety of things. I feel that it is only now I can really begin to digest some of the feelings I have about my time away. It was a wonderful experience but quite tiring; both physically and emotionally. It was a great privilege to meet and journey with a bunch of great individuals, I hope that we will be able to keep in touch. I found myself having conversations about whether we were pilgrims or tourists and concluded that although we were both, hopefully we were more than just tourists. I go off for 8 days this coming week on an individually guided retreat so suspect that I will have some opportunities to start to unpack bits from last week. I guess that in the weeks and months to come I will have further opportunities to explore and ponder on my experiences.
It's not easy to get to grips with the political situation in Israel and Palestine. There are so many different nuances to it all. We hear selected bits in the British media and you get a bit more of a feel when you are out there but it is much more complicated and complex than is easily understood; even when you begin to have conversations with different people. Our guide was an Armenian Christian, the hotel we stayed in in Jerusalem was run by a Paleistinian family, the hotel in Tiberias by a Jewish family and our driver was Muslim. The leaves in this picture seemed to begin to sum it up for me - the separateness with the overlapping, the light and the dark where some leaves are on their own and others have several layers, there are parts where everthing seems clear and others where it is far more muddled.
Despite my lack of clarity at the moment I do know that I want to visit the Holy Land again and would encourage others to travel there too.