These past three weeks, I have been settling into my new home while learning to become a Vermonter. Last summer, amidst the whirlwind of moving and jumping into a new job, I most certainly had an unsettled feeling. We then moved again to our more permanent home, which marked a solid step towards being more established. With this latest move, there were boxes to un-pack, change of address forms to fill out, and utilities to change over to my name. It was not until these last few weeks, that my sense of unsettlement seemed to be coming to an end. I think one of the first moments of finally feeling some stability came when I found the time to fill up my propane tank for the grill. It was, by God’s grace, at the U-Haul just a ½ mile from where I lived. The man who filled up my tank was most gracious and helpful. I was then able to spend important time cooking and eating with my family in the place we now call home.
The very beginning of my time away was wonderful. I would not, however, characterize it as a settling experience. I traveled with my son to Israel/Palestine. Together we saw and experienced many things. We went to the Sea of Galilee. We saw Nazareth where Jesus grew up. We went to the conflicted town of Hebron where one can find the tomb of Abraham and Sarah. We lit candles for loved ones at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where purportedly The Resurrection took place. We prayed at the Western Wall. I experienced the grandeur of the Dome of the Rock. I saw Shepherds Field in Bethlehem complete with a real shepherd with his sheep. Actually seeing these places put some of the romance and wonder back in my faith while affording me wonderful opportunities to talk with my son about justice and the meaning of life.
Throughout our travels, however, Alex and I were constantly made aware of the unsettled experiences of many we met. My itinerant days spent going from one hotel room to the next paled in comparison to so many others who live continually on edge. Historically, this region of the world is marked by stories of exile, return and exile once again for people of many cultures, faiths and nationalities. This is also land which was traversed many years ago by a certain itinerant Jewish preacher who said “foxes