I do seem to pay attention to this topic of changing perspectives. (See here and here, for examples.) After all, that’s the purpose of this blog–learning to pay attention, learning what has been presented to me in my life to learn from and about.
It’s true how much I see things differently after going to a museum. It’s also true, I realize, that I hear things differently after reading a poem; listening to music (not hearing a piece of music, but really paying attention); reading a piece of literature; learning and taking to heart some Torah. And I should add, experiencing nature.
It changes me, each one.
I think it changes other people, but I won’t speak for them. I think someone should, if they haven’t already, do a study of how each one changes people. I know it’s been done for nature vis-a-vis children and schoolwork. Richard Louv has written extensively on the subject, entitling it The Nature Principle. And I have found it very true, working with children for the hundred years or so that I have. Children of all ages, of course.
But do we give permission for things/experiences to change us?
On Thursday last week, we went into Jerusalem and ran around a bit. Walking around this city is one of my absolutely favorite things to do. We did not let the whole terror knife thing hold us back. But yes, we were more wary than in the past. Despite what you may read in the media, people are continuing their day-to-day business. Or more likely, because the media is so tilted against Israel, you may only have the idea that it is dangerous for Arabs to walk around. Things don’t change that much, do they? Nevertheless, we were happy to walk.
First, we went to the Beit Din Tzedek (the religious court of Jerusalem) to try to get a copy of our marriage license in order to present it to Nefesh b’Nefesh, the organization that is helping us make aliyah to Israel. Since their computer is only available in the evening (from 5:30 to 7:30!), we were not successful.
But I got to take some interesting photos.
What were they looking at?
I guess they don’t often see construction in their neighborhood…But there is change all around, no matter if you think you can stop it.
Then we continued walking back through the streets.
I guess things are relaxed enough that guards can take the time to stretch.
Onto the Kotel.
Since it was Thursday and there was Torah reading, that meant there were a number of families celebrating their sons becoming bar mitzvah. And so the throwing of candy over the mechitzah (divider between the women’s’ and men’s sections). A sign for a sweet life, they say.
And thus the cleaning up of the candy.
But it was after our visit to the Kotel that I got a real lesson in letting things change. I was waiting to use the bathroom in the cafe where we went to eat/escape the rain. A woman came to wait after me. I took the opportunity to ask her what group she was with, since I noticed her nametag. The name on her tag was Batyah something-something. I thought for a moment she was Jewish, since that is a Hebrew name. She mentioned a group I of course had never heard of; but no matter. She said it was the best tour she had ever been on, even having been here many times before, because her tour guides were from Ephraim and Benjamin. It may have been that she said other names, but I got it that she was an Evangelical Christian who loveslovesloves Israel. And the guides were fulfilling some level of prophecy for her that made it work. She said how much she sees by visiting all these places how G-d is all around us. Yes, I allowed this to soak in.
The view from the window while waiting.
We continued on our journey that day over to the Israel Museum. Changing perspectives indeed.