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When people ask me about my favorite memories of our family “Legacy” trip to Israel it’s hard to give an answer. After a trip so full of meaningful memories, there are so many incredible stories to tell.
They’re all my favorite.
There was one moment that was my most memorable personal moment om the trip and I’ll find a way to write about it one day. Until then, I’ll share some of the best moments and learnings from our journey in small pieces along the way. This picture is the day we visited the Garden of Gethsemane, tucked in at the foot of the Mount of Olives, with a beautiful upward view of the ancient walls of Jerusalem. In the Christian faith, this is the historical site that has significant meaning because it’s believed to be the olive garden where Jesus prayed in agony, was betrayed, and arrested the night before he was crucified. I remember it so well from my last trip to Israel and had very much been looking forward to bringing the boys here for a meaningful experience of prayer.
We had our moment, and . . .
It was nothing less than memorable and significant. The garden was quiet and reverent, while our extended family dispersed to pray in different locations around the garden, my Dad anointed each of the four of us with oil while praying over us. It was so beautiful and special. I couldn’t stop the flow of tears at the enormity of it all. I prayed earnestly that my kids would remember that moment as part of their own spiritual journey.
And then when we finished, we had a few minutes to go our separate ways to explore the garden alone.
I stopped to take pictures of other family memories when I looked up and saw the boys climbing one of the magnificent olive trees. My motherly instinct was to immediately order them down, out of the tree. These were precious, historical trees for goodness sake. They are not for climbing! But when I looked back at the garden keeper, he was smiling, as if to say, “They’re boys, for goodness sake.”
My heart instantly softened.
I smiled as I looked up at them and told them to at least hold still long enough for a photo. I thought about the garden setting from the time of Jesus. We hold it as a solemn, quiet place in our minds. But if I allow myself to really go there, I would imagine it was hard to keep the children from climbing the trees back then as well. Isn’t that why God made trees in the first place? They bring shade, shelter, and comfort to the grown-ups, and they’re nature’s playground for children.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~ Angela Schwindt
Sometimes we’re so busy “adulting”, trying to follow our plan for our lives and the lives of our children, that we forget how much they can teach us about what life is all about. That day in the Garden of Gethsemane, the boys gave me a beautiful reminder about the “both/ands” of life. In that garden, there was undoubtedly both, joy and grief. There was certainly a moment of significant grief and agony that is a pivotal point of my faith and there were just as certain, moments of joy and laughter in that same garden.
There’s always more to the story.
Not everyone will choose the exact same path as you, almost certainly not your children. Even if they do, they won’t experience it the same way you do, no matter how much you want them too. And just maybe, the way they choose to journey will teach you something you might have otherwise missed.
But you have to allow yourself to stay open to the possibility of other paths.
I walked into the garden thinking I knew what we would experience there. I was expecting to teach them something about the history of our faith and I undoubtedly, we did. But they taught us something, too. They taught us about being present and finding joy, even in a historical place of sorrow.
History has room for both.
So does your present.
Your future has room for both, too.
It’s up to you to stay open to the possibility.
to more love,