This morning we (Ru, four new friends and me, got up early (which, I have come to believe is an extremely relative term) and went to see the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock. We took a lot of pictures (see: Facebook) and walked around the city for quite a while after that and had breakfast. I like the Old City; it has twisty paths and alleys, and markets. Too bad we couldn't find a good bakery there. It was probably too early. I went to about 20 mins of Rebecca's Hebrew class and was completely lost :-) If I could have one superpower it would be to know every language, including ancient ones. Maybe futuristic ones too. Definitely Latin.
Yesterday we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is shared by several Orthodox churches. I heard a lot of Russian and the incense made me miss the churches there. I wanted to light a candle, and I may waunder back and do that later.
I don't want to think about going back, not because I'm not excited about starting in the middle school (I'll probably have some interesting stories from that), but I want to focus everything on being here, this week. One of the reasons I love traveling so much is that I start to see God in ways I have forgotten or never noticed. The friends I have made here remind me of his universalness and everlasting love. Beloved, let us love one another and not judge. Grace is abundant and flows from the heart of a loving Father, ready to forgive mistakes and sins. I am reminded of this every time I hear a new story about how someone comes to know this love. My heart is so full sometimes when I think about my friends, or students, or anyone I've met on my journeys (the Thai couple in Madison, the hotel clerk in Thessaloniki, the student on the plane back from Germany, many of my Russian friends, anyone) who lives without hope. I've noticed that I get a lot more emotional when I've traveled lately, and it makes me a little tired. Getting away is a time for my soul to be restored, too, and my soul has been very blessed by this journey. As Nick once said, and I remember time and again, "Souls are like babies; they cry and you need to take care of them."
Once upon a time, a lone Soupie ventured into the wide world. But he did not forget those who loved and missed him and in remembrance, wore proudly the tshirt of the International Souphouse. Today, we remember once more all Soupies and honorary Soupies who have traveled paths, and had adventures, and saw beauty on the Earth.