Last week went to Jerusalem to visit a dear friend of ours and had a wonderful time. The kids enjoyed the sights and sounds as Jerusalem is very different from Tel Aviv. From the piles of spices to the scent of roasting nuts; stacks of colorful tapestries, miles of beads, wood carvings. Shouts and bartering, men who promise a special price just for us. Carts of freshly baked pita, taxi drivers honking, stones several thousand years old still in use. The best part of Jerusalem was the history. We went to important historical and biblical sites, opened up our bibles and talked about what happened there. Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Garden Tomb, Temple Mount. It was a magical day. The picture above is us down by Hezekiah’s tunnel, looking up at the Mount of Olives.
In the evening we sat on the rooftop near the Jaffa gate with friends and my dear ones enjoying our food and laughing and chatting. The sun was setting golden to orange to pink and purple, reflecting on the stones of this very beautiful but very conflicted city. As the night sky was fading to an inky darkness the moon was rising over the Mount of Olives, full and deep yellow; slow and on a stage accentuating the magic of the evening. Partly I tell you about this night because I don’t want to forget it, partly so my loved ones can be “with” us here.
Winding our way through the old city we made it to the Wailing Wall. The day was sweltering, but somehow I’ve gotten used to that, almost enjoying it as part of the experience, discomfort becoming part of the beauty of the patchwork. Being separated from the men’s side of the wall the girls wrote our prayers, knelt together and whispered the echo of them inches away from the stones slick with the oils and tears of generations waiting for an answer for their petitions. I added mine in with so many, sweat rolling down my back and pooling at the waist of my floor-length skirt. I know that God hears me anywhere, but the air in that place was thick with hope, drenched in pain, and the intensity of the moment was a gift. I’m giving you a piece of that gift with the picture of Daisy’s precious fingers stuffing her prayer into a crevice.
The last picture is of Daisy comforting her dad while he gets a blood draw. This is something she has done countless times over the last 3 years, sometimes more than twice a week. Obviously being in a foreign land hasn’t affected Daisy’s style, as she dressed as a leopard that day, complete with eyeliner whiskers. Meow.
Coming up we have the vaccine. Britt’s dendritic cells are being cultured until a certain point when they will add to Daisy’s tumor tissue and create the vaccine. Daisy will get the first dose this week. Please pray as this is no picnic. (Kids, plug your ears). It consists of about 8 shots that are each slowly administered near lymph nodes all around her body; armpits, neck, etc. She will need to be medicated to endure the experience and to help her forget. We are not looking forward to it, but are thankful for the possibility of cure. Pray Daisy is able to keep calm, and that the pain wouldn’t be overwhelming.
The staff at the clinic is caring and wonderful; the Professor is so sweet to Daisy and such a character with his white hair that comes over the collar of his white coat. We get to go “home” at night after treatment instead of sleep at the hospital. Daisy can swim, play, learn, eat, and is one of the happiest kids we know despite her circumstances. We feel thankful for so much, even though tears flow and minds grapple, even though knees get sore and hearts are too heavy to carry. We have much to thank God for.
Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls and tour all the citadels that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever and He will guide us until we die.
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