Monday, January 17, 2011

The End?

I have been thinking a lot about Jerusalem lately. I had originally intended to write one final post to summarize what I learned, how much I grew to love the city, goals for my future, etc. while I was still in Jerusalem or shortly after returning. It has now been exactly one month since I returned home, and despite having plenty of extra time during my Christmas break to reflect I find myself unable to put into words what I don't know how to put into thoughts. Every time I pause to write about the experience I realize that my thoughts and feelings are not fully formed. I have now concluded that my thoughts and feelings about Jerusalem will never be fully formed. I think that's the real beauty of the experience--it's never actually over. The things I learned and the places I went have become an active part of me and not nearly a thing in my past that will be buried with time.

There's a part of me that groans inside every time a friend innocently asks, "How was Jerusalem?" and I, knowing that they don't have enough time or attention span to listen to the detailed answer I would like to give them, reply with a simple "great!" or "incredible!" I worry that every time I give my one-word answer this complex, 4-month-long section of my life becomes cemented in my mind as a simple, one-word experience.

It's hard to communicate what I would like to about the experience. It was completely different than I expected. There are not enough pictures or words to describe how I've changed. But I know that I did. I like to think that I don't need to type out a bullet-point list to prove it, but that it will be obvious in the way I live my life. Maybe that's the biggest lesson I came away with. If people only know I changed because I keep insisting that I did, then I probably didn't actually change very much. Hopefully, the way I live the rest of my life will prove that I am a better person because of the things I've experienced.

And on that note, my friends, I would like to conclude this adventure.