The title of my blog is “I think about that every day.” I wanted a title that meant something. I wanted a title that reflected me. I wanted a title that others could take to mean what they wanted. I wanted something specific and generic at the same time. More than any of that, I guess I wanted a few words that defined me; which is probably impossible, but these words are as close as any.
I’ve shared with you the story behind these words. A story that for a while I couldn’t stop telling, it came out like vomit, in any venue, at any time, to almost anyone who asked me how my trip was and then a week ago when my dad asked me to share this very story with a family friend, I couldn’t. I froze.
I don’t know why — maybe it was because this story is perhaps one of the most personal things I can imagine. I say personal because I can’t remember any experience that had the level of impact that this one did, that I don’t consider deeply personal.
As I write this, as I remember this, I wonder if it can be real. I wonder if I’m not simply remembering some movie I saw, some book I read, I wonder if this is my life. That’s another way I know I consider this personal, because the only moments in my life I feel that strongly about, so strongly that I’ve detached myself from them enough to feel like I’m looking into them are incredibly personal. In fact, most of the other moments in this category I have never shared with anyone.
I remember almost every moment. Sometimes I sit or run and just let myself become awash in the these moments; that are still so crystal clear I can remember the sensory experiences of being in them. I can remember the way my hair felt, the way my body felt, the way the sun felt, I can remember being there so vividly that I have to bring myself back into the moment here. That’s part of what it was there. I never had to remind myself to be in the moment there, because even if I’d wanted to let my mind go elsewhere, I don’t think I could have.
The first day, the first morning we woke up in Israel, that day we walked around Atlit and Acre, I was so overwhelmed, so shocked by this sense, this pervading feeling of being home. Before I went on this trip, I had no expectations. Work had been so busy leading up to it, that I literally had packed the night before and was just so excited to be away from it all, to not have my blackberry with me for a week and to go someplace new, someplace I’d never been, that I’d grown up hearing about, that I hadn’t considered what it would be like to be there.
The barbed wire at the camp at Atlit. (I’ve included as many pictures as I can; to hopefully let you feel what it was like there.)
A mezuzzah at Atlit. Everywhere, throughout all the stories there was this pervasive sense of, this message of hope. These rays of light that came through the clouds. The thing is this idea, this reference to a ray of light coming through a cloud, its not simply metaphorical because I saw so many rays of light visibly breaking clouds, I saw more in ten days there than I have in my entire life. (I understand that this must be scientifically explainable, I know that this is caused by atmospheric conditions, but all I saw and all I could see every time I saw that was god.)
In the lead up to the trip, so many people had told me about their experiences, the experiences of family, of friends, of how amazing it was, but nothing, no words no stories could have prepared me. And knowing this, I doubt that my words have done this place justice, but I’ve tried to give it a go.