Fear of the Unknown

I wrote this post before my trip to Egypt in 2009. I traveled for a course during my time at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. I travel all the time but it never ceases to amaze me how fear is such a powerful emotion. It can literally stop us in our tracks…

I received a call from my father today asking if this trip was still going to happen. My mother continually calls and tells me (doesn’t ask) that I won’t be able to go to Egypt in a week. Their fear is linked to what’s happening in Gaza at this very moment. When I first heard their comments, I laughed and told them, “You do realize that I am going to Egypt and not Israel, right?” After time passed and I thought more about what they have been saying and asking, I realize that they are truly concerned for my well-being and don’t really care that Egypt isn’t Israel. Rather, when they look at a map and see the close proximity of the Gaza strip to Egypt, the alarm bells start ringing. As I put aside my own “traveler’s superiority” (you know, the attitude that many of us can acquire after being fortunate enough to travel internationally) I realize that their fear is not unwarranted.

Continue reading

Be Not Afraid

I write this as I am flying somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean as I make my way to Israel. I can’t believe that this trip is finally here. In typical Rozella fashion, I was running behind this morning and almost missed my flight out of Chicago. I don’t know if it was God, luck or fate, but I made it. The only thing that I forgot was my bathing suit. Considering how absentminded I can be, I will recognize this as a major accomplishment.

I have been so anxious, and quite frankly afraid, leading up to this day. The only other time I felt something akin to what I’m feeling now is the first time I traveled to Africa. This time is different though. When I began what I call my Sacred Travel Journeys in 2004 (experiences that transform the heart, mind and soul and lead to an increased awareness) I was pretty naive. I didn’t know what to expect so any anxiety that I felt was linked to the fact that I had never traveled for anything more than a vacation before then. Now, however, I am more aware. I do not go to the Holy Land ignorant of what’s happening, of the history, of the risks. I go knowing that this is a volatile time. I go knowing that Israel and Syria are on the brink of war. I go knowing that peace talks between Israel and Palestine are to resume with much at stake. I go knowing that I am entering occupied terriotories and that I will see and experience things that have been linked to apartheid and slavery. I go with eyes wide open… Continue reading