Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's all up hill from here...

I am a mid-lifer. I have all the symptoms, a slight slump, a gut, graying temples, and I can work two things into just about any conversation… my grandchildren and my latest aches and pains. So along with seventy million other Americans, I have officially joined the ranks of the “over-the-hill gang.”

I know a lot about hills these days. I live in Jerusalem, a city built on and surrounded by mountains. Everyday I have to make treacherous climbs just to go anywhere.

Below is me climbing to our apartment after getting a few things at the store.

This is Preston having to climb back down later at dusk because I forgot to get milk…(memory, another issue associated with mid-life).

When you are in a hurry there is an expressway down as pictured below.

All pictures are a simulation intended to represent how my body feels at my age walking up and down all of these hills.

The Adventure Begins…

I enjoy some of my climbs, like the one Jer, Preston I took in the West Bank on an archaeological dig of the ancient city of Ai.

Years ago when I first visited Israel and someone said something about the West Bank, I asked if it had an ATM. I learned later that the West Bank is territory that Israel took possession of from Jordan during the Six Day War. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967. Since 1994 the "Palestinians" had been given limited self-rule but in 2000, due to Arab terrorism Israel had to take control of the region and has created a security border in order to protect the Jewish people. According to the Word, all this land belongs to God and was given to Israel. Alright enough with the history lesson...

Anyway back to the story…

We left Jerusalem and into the West Bank, past the security wall and the Israeli check point.

We drove about twenty minutes into biblical Samaria and arrived at the site. Our guide told us we would have to park at the bottom of the mountain and climb the steep rocky slope to see the ancient remains of Ai. Ai was the second city that Joshua had to conquer to take the Land. We made the climb. It was treacherous…we narrowly escaped with our lives.

Meanwhile we joined about fifteen other diggers and immediately with shovels and hand picks began clearing off the site.

We had been working for about three hours in teams at different places when we heard one of the main archeologists shout, “I found something!”, “I found something!”

He was digging at the ancient gate of the city and uncovered something in a chamber just below the hinge stones. Everyone dropped their shovels and picks and came running. When we all got to the site we were stunned by what we saw. It was a glowing green orb about a foot in diameter. It strobed as if it had a pulse and made a humming noise that gave you the feeling that it was a source of an enormous power.

The archeologist reached down to touch it, when he did a massive explosion of green light and wind happened lifting us all off the ground in a slow motion time warp. When it ended, we all slowly settled to the ground and looked with amazement at the archeologist. He had been transformed into a mummy-like figure, and was staring into space saying repeatedly, “The end of all things is at hand…the end of all things is at hand…”

Ok, the whole green orb thing didn’t actually happen. But we did dig and find a few pieces of pottery and helped the excavation team in their historic work of uncovering the mysteries of the ancient city of Ai, helping prove to the world the biblical account of Joshua’s conquest of the land and the authenticity of the scriptures.

One strange thing did happen while we were there.. Preston mysteriously shrunk to about 18 inches tall.

…weird, huh?

When he did, he started doing handsprings and cartwheels like the Oompa-loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He was trying to talk to me but I could not make out what he was saying. He had a tiny little smurf voice that I had to get down on all fours to hear him. This state only lasted a little bit…he is back to normal now. If this ever happens to you or to someone you know, don’t freak out, it is only a temporary thing.

So we ended our day at Ai and climb down and made our way back home to Jerusalem tired and satisfied. Another adventure behind us.

Mid-life lesson #1

What I am learning is that life is mostly an uphill climb. The lighter your load the easier the climb. And when it comes to climbs in life, none is greater than the pursuit of God and walking in intimate friendship with Him. David wrote,

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His Holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully” Ps 24:3-4