Before I Leave

Posted: 01/21/2008 in Semester in Israel
Tags: , , ,

So I officially leave for a semester abroad in Jerusalem in 2 days from now. I leave on Wednesday morning to fly out to from Indy to Chicago, then from there to London, and from London to Tel Aviv. I have a lot of mixed emotions about it right now. I’ve been telling people that the only way I can really explain how I feel right now is by saying my heart is full. That pretty much sums up all the excitements and blessings and anxieties I’ve been feeling.

With this first entry though, I kind of wanted to give a little background into this blog and the name and how this whole thing is going to go down…

First of all, I want to explain the name of this blog because I didn’t just pick it randomly because it sounds cool (which it does). But it actually comes from one of my favorite quotes of all time by one of the wittiest men to ever live. It’s by G.K. Chesterton, and the whole quote states:

“I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before.”

I’ve kind of taken this at a motto for my own life, and it rings especially true this semester. When G.K. Chesterton wrote this, he was speaking of his own personal journey to his faith. He sought out to prove everything that was wrong with Christianity (especially Orthodoxy) at his time. He was sick of what was being done and how it was being done, so he sought out his own path. When he reached his destination of orthodoxy, he discovered that he ended up believing the same thing he had before, but only now he has a deeper, richer understanding as to why he believes what he does. I see my journey to the Holy Land this semester in much the same way. I am going to the land to discover that which had been discovered before in order to gain a deeper, richer understanding of my faith.

I also want to explain a little my fascination with the word “Shalom”. You’ll probably notice that at the end of each blog, I’ll end with a blessing to all who read this, which is simply “Shalom”. It’s not because I’ll be in Jerusalem and it’s cliche, but it’s because of the deeper meaning behind the word. This Hebrew word translates to the English language simply as peace. But when we typically think of peace, we think of it as the absence of something. When we look for peace, we look for the absense of sound or people or other distractions. However, the ancient Jewish concept of peace can mean “welfare” or “prosperity” or it even goes deeper than that. It is peace as a concept of fullness, where everything is as it should be. When someone is blessed with Shalom, it would translate something like, “I wish you a full life where everything is as it should be, as it was created to be.” To me, this is the most powerful blessing one can wish upon someone. So I’ve been using this for a couple years now.

Well, my next entry will probably take place in Jerusalem, so thank you for reading. I’ll try to keep in touch and update about once a week or so, and I’ll try to post pictures as well.

SHALOM my friends

  1. blgtnjew says:

    שלום! I hope your time in Israel is good to you. I saw your father last night at Kroger, and we talked about you some. He said he should get you a bulletproof vest, but I let him know that you will be safe over there. It really is not as bad as the media makes it look, but until later שלום בירושלים של זהב! (Shalom in Jerusalem, the City of Gold)

  2. Sarah says:

    JE, so excited/ jealous of/for you. I know you will have an amazing time….make sure to site see lots. I wish I could go back to jerusalem. If you get a chance try and get over to Jordan and visit petra… its a place made for you and joel. There is hardly anything roped off and you can climb a lot of amazing things. Looking forward to reading your blog. Be safe and have LOTS of fun. Sarah Hill

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