3/11/2014 1:53:00 PM Publisher's Column
February was a pretty good month
We just returned last week from a 10-day visit to Israel, and one of the things that most surprised me about the visit was how small an area encompassed the majority of all the events that we read about in our Bibles. Most of those Old Testament and New Testament stories took place in an area less than 30 miles wide that would stretch about from Dodge Center to the Mall of America.
Such a small area, one man and a few disciples two thousand years ago--it boggles the mind to think about how much the world was changed with so little.
We had an opportunity to meet and talk with a number of Jews, Palestinians and Messianic Jews. It was interesting, informative and intensely sad listening to so many good people who cannot look past their differences to see all that they have in common. Certainly some do but obviously not enough to find a way to make peace.
We met a fine young Palestinian woman whose father is a merchant in Ramallah, which is in the West Bank area governed by the Palestinians. She was working in the hotel where we stayed in Jerusalem. When she found out it was Emily's birthday, she had a special dessert sent up to our room for Emily. She talked about her experience as a Palestinian living and working in Jerusalem. She said she has a good life but is not really accepted or trusted by the Israelis and is viewed as a traitor by friends back in Ramallah. She is one of six daughters in her family, with no sons. She has a sister who lives in Chicago whom she anticipates never seeing again. She was lovely, very personable, intelligent and quietly lonely in the very busy hotel full of people.
The Jewish people we met were also very fine people. To be perfectly honest, there was little difference between the Israelis and the Palestinians-except that each group sees the other as the primary obstacle to peace. It is so very sad.
The weather in Israel was a real treat--60s to 80s. It was especially nice as we listened to the weather reports about what was happening here at home. It was hard to believe conditions could be so bad as they were at home when we were having so much great weather over there.
The day after we left, the furnace at our home went out. Fortunately, Keith Cooper had agreed to tend to our chickens and keep an eye on the house for us. He called Paul Ronnenberg at Mid-West Maintenance and got it fixed in time to prevent any damage.
Our chickens also came through with no apparent problems. One change we did notice as a result of having been gone for a week and a half was a dramatic change in the attitude of our cat Tina, who as a general rule is not particularly friendly. For at least a few days after our return she demonstrated a significant degree of affection, which is not typical behavior for Tina. It didn't last too long, though. Our youngest grandson came to visit for a few days this past week, and Tina made it very clear she didn't want him around.
Our youngest grandchild is Emmet, nine-months-old. He might be young and tiny, but he sure knows how to take command of a household. Within 24 hours he had reorganized work and rest schedules for everyone in our household.
I had forgotten what real deep sleep is like but watching Emmet sleep as I manhandled him while changing his clothes made me wish I could sleep like a baby again. He let me twist and turn him, push and pull him, pick him up and put him down--not a sign of waking up, just peacefully sleeping until I was all done and put him gently into the bed we'd set up for him. Then, of course, he woke up, but until then it was the kind of sleep I only dream of.