Peace & Love & Armpit Braids
I spent the last weekend with my family in Itamar, a settlement in the West Bank of Israel. I went with a group of people to support the community in their mourning for the slaughtered Fogel family. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what good I could do over there with three little kids, but it was worth a shot.
I had a truly amazing time, to say the least, and that says a lot for me. For starters, I had abandoned my comfort zone and stepped into the vast, scary world. Next, I left what I consider normalcy and joined a somewhat camper/wilderness gang far below my living standards. I had gone from civilian to girl scout in a matter of minutes upon exiting the car.
We stayed in a little caravan set out on a cleared mountain top. At one point, it was so windy, the little camper almost took off. There were no screens and four little cots. I am not sure I can call them cots. They were thin paper-like mattresses on a metal frame. The linen was washed and smelled clean. There was a fleece kind of blanket which I refrained from sniffing because even in 5 star hotels, I know they don’t wash those. I just threw those aside and paid dearly for it as I shivered through the night.
It was cute though, and had a sink, a nice little table and chairs, and a small bathroom. All showers were taken care of before we took off to the place so there was no need to worry about what that would have been like. I was constantly yelling at the kids for ruining their new shoes, I had forgotten to bring their others. The once fancy Italian shoes now appear to be sandy, dirty, old moccasins. Thankfully, you can hardly tell that they ever had a glittery shine.
We were all constantly diving from these colossal Daddy Long-legs with wings. I was never really bothered by the creepy looking, tall-lanky insects until then. They had wings and seemed to be blind as well. Either that, or they were too heavy for the wings and could not fly properly. They were in our faces all night. The kids were stamping on them and the floor was covered with the monstrous, menacing creatures.
The whole trip felt like a real downgrade from my seemingly luxurious lifestyle. And that, coming from a new going-green person who rarely showers and washes her hair with cheap baking soda and water in an old water bottle, is saying a lot. I feel as though I will soon be growing my body hair in. Like I will be hitching rides from the sides of the roads waving my hand in the air with the braid beneath my pits flying freely. Possibly causing collisions. But it will be okay, I will hold out the sign. It will read “Free Hugs&Kisses” and I will cure everyone’s pain. Peace and love to my fellow brothers.
However, aside from all the superficial things, the trip was incredible. We made a difference and put a smile on the people’s pained faces. That, and only that, is what we were aiming for. The fact that the kids had more fun than they had ever had, was just a plus. It was like a bungalow colony of children. They played all day and night. The fact that I had people to talk to, was extraordinary. Also, just an extra gift. To see how unified we were with people we had never known, was remarkable.
We comforted the mourning and I feel really honored to have been able to partake in such an event. It was an experience that can hardly be believed. The tiny sacrifices we can make to create difference in the world. There is so much suffering out there and every little bit of comfort or help, counts more than we can imagine.
The view was spectacular. The community was simple, yet amazing and strong. It was so nice to let go of all the materialism for a bit and see what else there is out there. We didn’t use phones or computers or cars and all the things that occupy our minds. We just sat together, spoke, sang, danced, and cried. (and ate, of course)
I am grateful for having been able to make a dent, even the smallest amount, into the pain and suffering of the world.
We can all make a difference. One small thing at a time.