From Israel #1

This is something I wrote in my journal as I sat in an airplane in Frankfurt, Germany about to fly to Tel Aviv, Israel. It may not do anything for you, it may not even make sense, but when I wrote it I had only slept one hour in the previous 24, so … here it is:

He sits across the aisle from me all grey hair and grey curls and grey beard and black pants and black jacket and black hat. He is chanting. The moment he took his seat he began reading his Hebrew Scriptures. I grabbed the In-Flight Magazine to see what the movie might be.

Is he reading out loud, or praying, or singing? What radio stations can I listen to with these headphones?

I get out my journal, to do some calling on God of my own. He’s calling a flight attendant.

“God, can You help me?” I write. “How can I help you?” the stewardess asks. “What can I learn from sitting next to this man?” I ask God. “I cannot sit by a woman,” he tells the flight attendant. “Let’s see what she does about this,” I think. “Let me see what I can do about this,” she says.

She walks away. He goes back to reading. I go back to writing. A young lady walks up and prepares to take the seat in front of me. I look up. He looks up. I look down. He looks up again. I look at him. He looks up again, and again, and again. He’s checking her out! I think, I’m pretty sure. No wonder he must sit next to a man. So is it good that he knows his weakness? Or is it bad that he is so much a “separated one” that he has separated himself out of real life?

God, I don’t want to be of this world, but I do want to be in it. I want to be both approachable, and beyond approach. I want to love You and people. I want to breathe You in and also breathe You out. I want to feel Your touch and I want to be Your touch.

God, help me to be like this man across the aisle, and please make sure I am not like him. More than anything, I want to be like Jesus.

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