“I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight, but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild, strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I’m leaving for Israel in 3 days and I still don’t believe that it’s happening. I decided I needed to go back while I was still there, almost two years ago. As I said goodbye to the people and land I’d completely fallen for, I knew I wasn’t done. Why am I going? That’s a good question. The easy answer is that I want to take this time before I’m in school and working for the rest of my life to travel, experience new things, challenge myself, etc. The not-so-easy answer is that I want to learn more about myself, what’s important to me, my relationship to the universe. I want to be immersed in the difficult questions about God, peace, violence, conflict, love. I want to figure out where I fit into this beautiful mess we humans have created and what I want to contribute. No big deal, right?
These last few weeks leading up to my four month trip have been surreal. I’ve been completely delirious from lack of sleep, exhausted from packing up my Baltimore home, going on interviews, waiting to hear the news from schools that will determine much of my next decade, pretending to pack the things I will need for four months in one backpack. I’ve been emotionally saturated with endings and beginnings, ‘goodbye’s and ‘don’t forget me’s. I’m excited for this journey but also terrified because I don’t know what to expect. I am usually a dedicated planner but not this time. The more times people ask me what I’ll be doing in Israel, expecting that as they continue to check in closer to my departure date that I will have some sort of reassuring answer, the more I surrender to the fact that I, indeed, have no idea. No plans.
This blog is the best I can do to assuage the curious parents, friends, family members. I figure it will be good to hold myself somewhat accountable for the next few months and I’ll try my best to update with substantive posts as often as I can. Its name came from some phrase I overhead once upon a time, and when it popped into my head, I decided it was fitting. Those of you who know me well are probably chuckling because despite my best intentions, I am incapable of not being intense. So, to all of you who have contributed to who I am today and who I will carry with me, I invite you to share in my journey. My intensity that I will carry around, drop off, and be transformed by around the world. I wouldn’t have it any other way.