|Morning view of the Jerusalem Hills|
We stopped by one Russian Orthodox monastery which sits high atop the mountain. The view from up there took my breath away. Around the golden-domed church, many houses nestled, embraced by oak, pine, fig and olive trees and early cyclamen bending their pink heads to the ground. Stone staircases wound up and down the steep hill. My aunt and I longed to peek inside the houses, to see how the nuns live. We saw one nun, in a house dress, sweeping the stairs below her house. Near another house a long white shirt hung on a line, the wind floating it back and forth like a ghostly swing. Peace reigned, and quiet.
|Gate near Stairs of Eden, Ein Kerem|
Since arriving in Israel, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. After all, coming here meant that I left people I love, the kids, Dar and my parents, far away -- half way around the world -- in order to see other people I love, my aunt, grandma, cousins and friends. Despite being surrounded here by love, I miss Eden’s soft cheek as she presses it against mine, Uri’s giggles when I try to steal a kiss from him, and the feeling of safety and warmth in Dar’s hugs. I am here, but my heart, divided, is also there.
Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I am too dependent on the kids and Dar. Do I worry about them too much? Has my happiness become too entwined in their presence? Am I too attached? I feel as though I could be more independent, give myself and them our freedom to be.
“Letting go of attachment does not preclude love,” my aunt, who is also a Yogi and Sanskrit scholar, told me. Like the Buddhist monks who, by letting go of the boundaries between people, love the whole world. The idea of attachment is that, in the end, we cannot take anything or anyone with us.
|Stairs of Eden, Ein Kerem|