1 April 2010
HEBRON REFLECTION: Peaceful landscapes, weeping hearts
By Paulette Schroeder
I felt a strong spiritual lift within me as I faced the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. My teammate and I took two days off from our peacemaking team in Hebron to explore a bit of the northern area of Israel/Palestine. We had to take six different vehicles before we finally arrived at the Baha’i Gardens, the center for all Baha’i believers, whose faith professes the unity of all humankind, all life. The gardens showed an exquisite example of this unity. Cascades of water flowed peacefully down the middle of the eighteen terraces. For a brief moment, I forgot the shortage of water that the people of Palestine experience regularly. With Israel only allotting 20% of the water to half of the people in this land, water ranks as a most precious gift from God.
Eyeing the creative perfection of the colorful floral arrangements spread over the rolling green terraces and around pine and cypress sentinels, I saw all nature working together to please the eye, the soul of the onlooker. Here, where there were no soldiers on duty, no settlers harassing Palestinians, here where the Jew, the Christian, and the Arab Israeli were walking the streets together, I saw the dream of all peacemakers.
Traveling then to the Sea of Galilee, a spread of fertile land stretched out for miles. From a distance, the Golan Heights looked majestic in their age, shriveled in places, reflecting the sunlight in patterns of peacefulness. How could these Heights be such a contentious piece of land? Bordered by the Sea of Galilee, these hills must have been the subject of Jesus the fisherman’s meditation. The wandering prophets perhaps took refuge on these sandy hills. The westerly winds that whipped up against us must have weathered the faces of Jesus apostles in their boats.
All the way home both of us CPTers sat in awe, reflecting on the peaceful landscapes we had found to soothe our minds and souls. Of course, having become friends to so many Palestinians, we felt our hearts weeping also. How wonderful if they too could travel to these places, see the land of their families, relax by the clear blue Mediterranean and Galilee Seas, stand in peace before the Golan Heights. Lord, that it may come to pass.