Holy Division

I originally wrote this post for my friend's blog, Worlds in Vignette.  It's a very cool blog that gives you glimpses of a diverse number of experiences from around the world.  I'm very sure you would love it.

I meander the old streets in the City of Peace and I find myself at a viewpoint for the Wailing Wall. I look down at the wailers and at the wall and I see the military checkpoints and the 20-somethings with huge guns, their presence calming some fears and heightening others.

The wailers have divided themselves on this wall – there is a larger portion for men and the women wail on the remaining piece. The Dome of the Rock lies behind, so close in distance, yet so far in unity for the devotees of such places. This city of peace and this land that is holy has been splintered in every imaginable way. The church marking the birth of the Prince of Peace also marks a power struggle between 3 different Christian denominations. Abraham, the father of 3 warring traditions, is buried in Hebron, a city most divided. One side of his tomb is for the controllers and tourists; the other side for the controlled. A wall snakes through this holy land, splitting this place from that and splintering hearts in the process. All is divided, cut apart, separated. All is split.

The holiness of it all fails to find me.

I again observe the wailers and I feel their sorrow working in me. Something wells up in my heart, chokes me as it comes through my throat, and it seeps out from my eyes. My mind tells it to stop, but my body doesn’t listen. Even I am divided within myself.

I’m interrupted by 2 lovers. They want me to take their photo in front of this historical landscape. And for that snapshot moment, the scene in front of me is not one of division.