Endings are difficult. But each ending also holds the potential for new beginning ~ And some things don’t end, they simply take on new form ~ So it is for me and my EAPPI colleagues in Group 50 as we prepare to say goodbye to all we have known and loved here in South Hebron Hills these past months.
Group 51 has arrived, filled with excitement, anticipation, and a measure of trepidation ~ all are infused with fresh energy and wide-eyed wonder. This is tempered by Group 50’s three months of treasured memories coupled with a sense of loss and nostalgia. As the “outgoing team,” we walk our new EAPPI colleagues through three days of intensive on the ground training as we prepare to pass on to them this work of accompaniment. They are keen and eager. We are pensive and nostalgic ~ Today is our last checkpoint monitoring ~ our last school run ~ our last village visit ~ our last walk in that haunting landscape that is Masafer Yatta (“firing zone 918”) ~ The last for now.
As Group 51 returns to Jerusalem for their final days of training, time opens for us. We have only 4 days remaining. Our “to do” list is long. We revisit favorite villages ~ special places. We make phone calls and visit friends who have become family. We drink endless cups of tea as we reminisce ~ We laugh and cry over countless remembered moments.
It is true that at some point in time I will likely return to this land that has shaped my days ~ to these people who have touched my life and now have a place in my heart ~ But it will not be the same. Nothing ever is! ~ It makes me ponder… But all things come to an end ~ Or morph into a new form ~ And so I choose to relish these last days ~ And I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity that has been mine ~ for this collection of moments, this place, these people with whom I have lived and worked ~ for the privilege of walking with them ~ for lessons learned ~ for the richness that is now a part of my lived experience because I have been privileged to touch what matters ~ I am deeply grateful.
A chapter has come to an end. But a new chapter waits to be written. Stories have been shared, and stories have yet to be told ~ May our eyes and our hearts open to all that is ours to learn as we continue in ways both old and new to work tirelessly for justice and peace ~ to speak for those who have no voice ~ to stand against the denial of dignity and basic human rights ~ to advocate for those on whatever margin ~ to hear one another into speech ~ What a wonderful world it could be! ~ May we be the answer to our deepest longings.
What else is there to say than thank you! Thank you for all of the sacrifices you made in order to go! Thank you for your work and your witness there as well as here. Thank you especially for finding words that capture so many of the feelings I carried as my time drew to a close in Bethlehem.
Dawn, Thank you for this blog. You have opened my eyes and my heart to that which we do not see and hear. It was especially important during Steven Harper’s visit to the Middle East and the triumphal reporting that accompanied it. The stories of the oven and the two shepherd boys remain with me.
Thank you, Dawn. Your posts and your courage were such an education for me.
Dawn, thank you for your ministry in the “Holy Land” and around the world as your learning and your compassion and your yearning for justice touches lives both there and here and who knows where? Wishing you peace in your last few days, and safe travels and rest when you return home. I look forward to catching up with you after you have come home and rested. Blessings, Mary Faith
Thank you Dawn for the good work you do in the pursuit for peace and justice! Thanks for sharing many of your experiences. Welcome home! I’m sure my sister is very happy!
Thank you for doing such important work and, while doing it, to share your experiences so beautifully with those who so deeply appreciate your generosity and willingness to do work that will, we’re sure, make a great difference.
Thank you, Dawn, for the thoughtful, moving and sometimes wrenching, always affecting, posts. They remind me to not stop caring about what is happening in Palestine and to the people there. I hope you’ll be able to share what you’ve heard and seen with others back home. And I hope I get to meet you in person one day.
Thank you for your posts and for your time in Palestine. I have a file folder of 4justpeace and look forward to reading some of them again. You do an excellent job with your posts. Blessings and peace to you and to those whose lives you have touched in Palestine.
I agree with the above two comments…your portraits were full of compassion…I wish you a bon voyage, and happy adjustment back at home.
You have brought us with you in a way that changes and deepens us. I am filled with gratitude for the character of the people, the beauty of the land, the possibilities within solidarity… and love for you the writer of the stories and those who have lived your words.
Thank you again for all you have done in your months away from home, for your reminders that there are dozens of stories we need to hear, for your example that there are many people we would be blessed to get to know, and for your shared hope that the precious people of Palestine deserve a brighter future. Together we celebrate the ripple effect of your words, photos, blogs, ideas, stories….
Dawn, your love, commitment, and passion inspire me. As does the ongoing living of all the people you have encountered as they find their way in the midst of struggle, fear, and possibility.
May our current Canadian government soon find heart. May our participation in the oppression of Palestine cease.