I've been feeling quite nostalgic lately. Do you remember that one post I wrote a while back about life going in circles? Well as Christmas time rolls around, I can't help but start to think about how this time last year I was packing up to go to Jerusalem.
I remember feeling worried and very anxious. I was trying to fit everything I could into my 50 lbs suitcase and carry on bag. I was anxious to learn and explore. But most of all, I was worried about trying to make the best of the experience, of making sure that I took every chance that I could, and that I did a good enough job recording it all so that I could remember it years to come.
There are just some things that I just couldn't capture no matter how hard I tried. Like the sound of the wind carrying the call to prayer as you sit in the Garden of Gethsemane on a Sabbath afternoon, or the smells of the spices walking through the old city. You can't quite remember the words to that song that Arab guy used to sing to 'the Mormons' as he called us. How can you put into words and photographs the feeling of sitting in a hotel room in Egypt, watching the news with your classmate, trying to understand the revolution that was going on all around you. Its hard to keep the spirit you feel as your friends would sing hymns at the various sights we visited. There are just some things that memory just can't fully complete.
Well today, I met up with my friend Greg Coy from Jerusalem. He handed me a little red wrapped gift and told me not to open it until I got home. Well, how could I walk the whole way home with this shiny red package with my name on it and NOT open it. I didn't even make it all the way out of the bookstore.
Enclosed in this little red package was two mounted photographs that Greg had taken, one of me at the Jerusalem Center with the entire city behind me, and the other a shot of the Garden Tomb. I could feel the tears start to form in my eyes as I read the sweet note on the back and remembering those moments. Included in the package was a CD that had the words "A Collection of Memories" across the front. I rushed home and put it in my computer first thing.
As the tracks downloaded, I couldn't imagine what it would be. I clicked on the first track and heard the sound of the announcer from the 'Pyramid Light Show' our first night in Egypt. Track after track included recordings from our time in Jerusalem. I sat on the floor of my room, closed my eyes, and just cried. I pictured myself in each spot as the memories came to my mind from the sounds, music, laughs, and voices on each track. All those memories that I just couldn't hold on to were right there in that CD.
It was the absolute best christmas gift I could have received, and I'll be forever grateful for it Greg. I don't think I'll ever stop missing Jerusalem, and this CD helps me to keep it close.
Here are a few of my attempts at capturing the spirit of the city.