I left home.
I left the war zone.
I left the code red sirens, the rocket attacks, the fear.
I left my love.
For six months I had this trip to America planned. But I anticipated leaving the same country that I would return to. Yesterday, I left a country that I know will be very different when my plane touches down on that holy soil in six weeks.
Maybe a little sadder? Or perhaps a lot more happy? Potentially scarier. Hopefully more peaceful.
It’s funny how it is harder to leave my homeland when it is peril. I did not intend to run away. I would never abandon my people. Only five minutes back in the U.S., where I lived for 17 years, and I’m already longing for home.
I miss my Jewish state and all of the beautiful paradoxes that come along with it.
Like cab drivers blasting trance music, sporting tattoos and earrings, speaking about how they haven’t missed a Shabbat meal at their grandmother’s house in years.
Or the secular newspapers that quote the books of the prophets more than they quote the president. I long for the delicious fruit that was grown in the desert, and vegetables that taste like they came from the Garden of Eden.
I smile when I think about my children being able to walk to the “makolet” and buy milk by themselves, then have a random grandmother escort them home. I miss the sound of F-16s flying overhead, patrolling the skies to protect the nation. I miss being part of my people, during good times and bad, sickness and health, and everything in between.
The past few weeks of this war have brought about some terrible moments, yet awesome beauty as well:
-Soldiers covering children with their own bodies, as code red sirens wail
-Children staying up late at night to bake cookies for soldiers
-Singing “Am Yisrael Chai” – “The Nation of Israel Lives” – while huddled in a bomb shelter
-Families in northern Israel opening up their living room and couches to war torn families from the south
-Anonymous pizza deliveries to soldiers on the border.
-Countless volunteers working tirelessly at Fellowship emergency projects in cities under fire
But these are not the only things that have inspired me. Millions of Christians and Jews around the world have been sending their support, love, and prayers to the people of Israel during this difficult time.
It is hard to be away as my nation fights for her survival. But based on the support that I have seen over the last two weeks, I am certain that I’m surrounded by friends.
As is the case with every love story, distance only makes the heart grow fonder.