I did not expect to encounter dancing when we made our visit to the Wailing Wall today. But there it was…
…not one small “fringe” group, but band after band after band of young Jewish men singing and swaying and circling about.
There was nothing even remotely somber in their demeanor as they venerated the Wailing Wall…only the joy of arriving, at long last, at their spiritual home.
In contrast, I WAS expecting the Via Dolorosa to be a reverent and prayerful interlude — particularly today, on Ash Wednesday, when we Roman Catholics begin the holy season of Lent.
But nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, few seemed to notice that we were trying to pray our Stations of the Cross.
We were jostled and hawked at every turn…and we became a veritable spectacle to other tourists on the street. They snapped photos without asking, even at times blocking our path in order to compose their shots.
It turned into an odd sort of blessing, being forced to pray this way. As Jerusalem’s indifference played out all around, it became increasingly clear that THIS must have been pretty close to what Jesus experienced, too.
No sugar-coating His Via Dolorosa. Just the “way of the world,” seemingly gaining the upper hand.
Still, this was not the day’s most disappointing surprise.
It saddened me much more that I wound up walking the Via without my Sweetie at my side. Gerri wasn’t feeling well, so the bus dropped her off near our hotel (along with several other pilgrims who didn’t feel up to making the walk).
It felt strange, traversing this sacred path without my Paradise Partner nearby. The bitter reality settled a bit like ashes on my tongue…and in my heart.
But later it occurred to me that this, too, is part of the sacred mystery, is it not?
Briefly bereft, I tasted just a bit of the cup from which Jesus drank on the way to Calvary…
…a holy longing in his heart…
…a deep desire to savor Love again…
…and to reconnect with the Holy One.
(In your kindness, please whisper a prayer for my Beloved. She’s feeling a tad better as I write…but she’d love to get back closer to “full steam” for the final couple days of our pilgrimage. 🤧😷🤒)
Let us remember that we are in the presence of the Holy and Merciful One!