Friday, October 28, 2011

Portions of beauty and suffering

"They" say a lot of things. "They" say we should drink 8 glasses of water a day. Or not. "They" say finding a geico in your home is good luck. We rarely know who they are and sometimes we acknowledge that "they" often stands for popular wisdom or an unverified statistic that we still seek to quote because it brings us comfort.

Well, "they" say that "of the 10 portions of beauty that came down to the world, 9 went to Jerusalem and one to the rest of the world." The next verse reads "of the 10 portions of suffering that came down to the world, 9 went to Jerusalem and one to the rest of the world." The 'they' in this case would be Talmud scholars.

I find myself in Jerusalem and my heart has no room for suffering this week. And so, on my first walk, I photograph what is beautiful, what is curious, what is giving me hope. If "they" are right about this city, the beauty and the suffering walk hand-in-hand and cannot be divorced from one another.

For today, though, world -- please, let me just savor the beautiful light.

Only in Jerusalem: a sheesha in front of an icon of Mary (for sale, both of them).

A city wrapped in nargileh - sheesha smoke

I asked the man who runs the pita stand if I can take a photo of the bread. He said "sure!" Two minutes later, he put his arm around me, cut up some pita, scooped up some of his lunch and shoved it in my mouth. Jerusalem and Greece -- not entirely dissimilar.
Challah for Shabbat and thorny bread in the background
Friday afternoon light in St. Andrew's Scottish Church

Smiling love on the Via Dolorosa
A war memorial reflects the sky
When I was a baby, my father called these flowers "τα ματάκια της Ρω." "Roxanne's eyes" and I meet again in Jerusalem.

I have just created a Facebook page for Stories of Conflict and Love, where I will post updates on my life and work, as well as links related to storytelling, creativity, photography, writing, conflict, international development, gender and travel. You can also see more photographs there if you "Like" the page. If Facebook is not your cup of tea -- worry not. This will remain my beloved online home and it is a privilege to share it with you.

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