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November 2009

Hot peace

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

In approximately five days, my husband and I will be on our way to Israel for Baha’i pilgrimage. Though the word “pilgrimage” sometimes brings to my mind vague rituals involving shaved heads and traveling miles on foot, a pilgrimage is basically a trip that a devotee (the dictionary’s word) takes to a shrine or holy place. Although I could argue that the whole earth is a holy place, being the home of some of God’s greatest work, the middle east is a hotspot of holiness, and Israel specifically is widely acknowledged as a significant place for many religious people – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha’is. We all want to be there to experience some of the spirituality that has inspired so many.

I find myself wondering what I will find over there. Of course there is a certain amount of oft-controlled dissension, a sort of cold war that may be better described as a hot peace. But beneath the nervous tension and anger at the “other” invading one group’s special place is a belief in something wonderful that needs to be respected, protected, and loved. I want to be in that hotbed for awhile and feel human interactions influenced by sacred writings in tension with their shadows of jealousy, revenge, and distrust. I like to observe messes like that, try to figure out what’s going on, and then leave and go back to my life. Maybe that’s why I watch reality TV shows, such as Dr. Drew’s Sex Rehab and Real Housewives of Orange County.

Is that why I’m travelling to Israel, despite going into debt to do so, despite my nerves twinging with guilt and worry at the thought of leaving my daughters for two weeks? Is Israel just a reality TV show to me, that I can sit in front of for a temporary escape from actual reality?

I have trouble getting to the heart of what I’m feeling about this trip. I want it to heal me, I think, pull me out of my struggles, cure me of seasonal affective disorder, reorient me to a spiritual life based in outward reality, show me what my purpose is here on earth, find me a job and get me out of debt. I want the magic of that part of the world, like the geothermal hot spots beneath Yellowstone National Park, to warm up the clay of my being, bubble me up into mud and reform me into something spectacular, something inspirational, something worth driving miles to visit. I want to come back tranformed and focussed on what I need to accomplish, and how I need to do it.

Is that too much to ask?


Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I have been officially rejected by an agent! It actually feels good, because it only took one day to receive, enabling me to quickly query (I love alliteration) a different agent. This one says on her web site that she will respond within two weeks. That’s pretty good. The first two agents I queried said “If I don’t respond in 8 weeks, that means no.” I am not a big fan of the 8-weeks-of-limbo “no”. So bring on the 1-day to 2-week rejection! I’m on a roll!