Pilgrimage

Project 365: Day 033Two weeks ago I met my mother at the airport to fly to Israel and make our way to Haifa, Israel to participate in the greatest bounty: Bahá’í pilgrimage.

Before making the trip, my life had settled into a funk. Back in 2005, Lacey invited me to her wedding in Chicago at the Bahá’í House of Worship. At the time, my life was mired in a similar funk and experiencing a whole morning praying there gave me both a warm calm and bubbling turmoil. It was the calm before the storm as during the next several months my grandmother lost two brothers sending me on driving trips to Arkansas twice, my gall bladder failed, and I landed a job prompting a move to Athens.

Returning from Chicago, I held no answers… just bouts of turmoil and using thoughts of my time in Chicago to produce serenity. Returning from Haifa, I feel more turmoil and serenity! Instead of a warm calm, I’m feeling like a stranger in my own home, driving my own car, chatting with my own friends. It’s like for a couple weeks I got to experience a different life and feel disappointment returning to my own.

Miscellaneous observations:

  • Pictures of the places I visited in no way prepared me for the experiencing the Bahá’í holy sites.
  • Clementine juice in particular is genius. Citrus products in general are fantastic.
  • Israelis know the name Ezra particularly well, so they expect the bearer to know Hebrew. Security  officials often wanted to know why I have the name.
  • As much as I read, I ought to read more Bahá’í works.
  • I expected to suffer greatly climbing anything more than a couple floors equivalent as the most exercise I get is just a single floor of stairs a few times a day. So we did quite a bit of walking down which was enough to make my calves burn. The trips up were shorter.
  • It is a teeny tiny Bahá’í world. I knew Mojan, Eric, and their son were in Haifa. Another 3 Bahá’ís from Georgia happened to be serving there. A couple others, Delara and Marla, happened to be in the my pilgrimage group as well.
  • Kat recognized me from somewhere upon sight of me in orientation. We didn’t figure it out in our 9 days together. Previously life? Or a connection to people serving or previously served in Haifa?
  • Shawarma… who knew?
  • I was told I am not fulfilling my potential. Instead of working with computers, I ought to be an educator.
  • Mom thought Ezra Jack Keats, my namesake, was black because he used a black child as the protagonist. Guess the web site didn’t exist back when I was born. I’ve known he was originally a Katz for almost a decade.

For a good description of the pilgrimage experience, see Myk’s pilgrimage blog postings.

If the aftermath of this pilgrimage is anything like my visit to Chicago in 2005, then I’ll experience some change. I don’t intend mistake attraction for Haifa as destiny to live there. My attraction to Chicago has never culminated in my living there, so I’m not holding on to imaginations I’ll miraculously move to Haifa. Something like serving at the Bahá’í World Center would be the kind of change I foresee. We’ll see. I’m not keen to completely disrupt my life at the moment. Hopefully events will not conspire against me to force my hand.

3 thoughts on “Pilgrimage”

  1. Good luck, my friend. It can be really intense coming back from Pilgrimage…so much to process. And yet, you don’t want to settle back into life as usual. I totally understand what you mean.

    Pray that Baha’u’llah guides you to do whatever it is that you’re supposed to do. Who was it that told you that you needed to be an educator?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: