Sunday, February 19, 2012

Moving, Spiritual Reflections, and Life in a Quiet Town

We have been living in Northern Israel for a year and a half at this point. It has been a period of ups and downs, adjustments, laughter, loving, discouragement, feeling too hot, feeling too cold, mundane living and spiritual uplifting. It has been quite the ride, and I know it is STILL just the beginning of the ride.

We used to live in Teverya, and about 6 months ago, we picked up and moved to a small town halfway between Afula and Haifa. So much to love about this part of the country, and such a great view! And we have citrus trees...

I love this life. It is so different from our life in Florida. Unbelievably different. While some things were wonderful there, sometimes life just sidetracked us from our goals. Not just Florida, as we also lived in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Georgia. Before that, we lived in Yerushalayim, the holiest of all cities, the only city in the world that fills me with peace and that wonderful feeling of coming home. The only city in the world that as I walk its streets, I feel awed and uplifted, and at the same time I ache, for I know that I will leave and it will not be my home again.

When we lived in America, I went through a transformation of sorts. When we first moved there, we left the holiest place in the world and landed smack in the middle of an upper-middle class town in Connecticut. I felt cut off from my lifeline. I cried. I went through culture shock. And slowly I became acclimated. It took a bit of time, but eventually I started driving and made all sorts of discoveries: no, I couldn't go to the Kotel when I was looking for answers. But I found a Walmart nearby. And then I discovered bargain hunting - consignment shops and thrift stores in bourgeois towns in Connecticut was a little like being in HEAVEN. I discovered that I could live the good life on a really tiny income, as long as I was willing to buy my stuff used. I scoured the Goodwill 25 cent bins for treasures. Those Goodwill wokers in Connecticut never wanted to try to sort out bags of stuff that was donated, so TONS of miscellaneous items got dumped into the 25 cent bins for the poor people to sort through. Well, that was fine with me! And slowly, I changed. I went through a major transformation. I fed my hunger with bargains and thrift shopping... I learned to buy everything reduced. Even my produce - eventually I started shopping the markdown produce at the market! Wow, life became all about the markdown. Instead of the uplifting. It took a while, but eventually, I felt that there was this bit of my heart that was longing to go back to Yerushalayim. A little bit of me saying, give it all up! It doesn't matter what you have. You need to live the life you are destined to live, and you just CANNOT do that in America, shopping, playing (at Disneyworld, sniff!), and living so disconnected from your spiritual home. So far from Yerushalayim...

So why do I live in the North and write about Northern Lights? Because in my heart I long to live in Yerushalayim, yet I know that it is not possible. Not possible for me, to live the life I want to live, in Yerushalayim. I LOVE the quiet solitude of my little town in Emeq Yizrael. It is dark now, and there is silence outside, surrounding our little house in the kind of peace and quiet that never comes in a big city. Perhaps it is false, but I have a sense of security I never really had, living all those years just a stone's throw from the Prime Minister's residence, the President's residence, or the bustling Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, or the truly bustling, bursting, Middle-Eastern-beyond belief Shuk (Machane Yehuda). (Yup, even then I moved around a lot. I am one who always looks and strives to find something better. To make next time around even better. Whether that was with location, work, friends, roommates... now it is a desire to have the best for my family...)

We love our quiet town. It is rather large as little towns go, nearly 8000 residents. But it doesn't feel large at all. The streets are quiet, many tree-lined. There are no traffic lights (except to get off the highway and into town) and people smile. Sometimes there are scouts or groups of kids who go out into the field (behind our house) and make a bonfire, singing and eating fire-roasted treats late into the night.
We can also get almost everything we'd need right here in town. Nothing more than a 20 minute walk away. (With the exception of x-rays. One of our sons needed that and we had to take him to Afula. But Afula is only about a 25 min. drive. Within many cities you may have to travel longer than that for some service or other... just TRY getting anywhere in Haifa!)

My kids are happy with the open green spaces all around us, though they groan about living downwind from the cows sometimes (me, too!). While I am allergic to the outdoors, I wither away inside when I don't have access to it. I love this life.

Come find out more about living in the North. Give us a call and arrange a visit. You can reach us at 054-45-1878 or 054-454-2631.