I've been home from Egypt for three days now. Re-entry has been kind. While busy, I continue to remind myself to take things "slowly, slowly" - a practice offered daily by our wonderful guide and friend Abba Rabia. My body is starting to reset itself - adjusting to the 10 hour time difference and a missed diet of leafy greens and granola.
The dreams that began in the desert continue to be vivid and speak to the depth of this place from where I've come. I have resisted turning on a DVD or Netflix and instead have drifted to sleep reading "Walking the Bible" - picking up where I left off in the Sinai. Stories of Mount Sinai, Father Justin (an American monk residing at St. Catherine's Monastery), burial tombs and Bedouin take on new and more significant meaning now. I have walked those places and met these people. They are imprinted in my DNA.
It's challenging to answer inquiries such as, "Tell me about your trip..." Where do I even begin? My initial response when asked for highlights, most often turns to my time spent wandering and camping in the desert.
"People coming to the desert discover that they are drinking from truth. And people become more at peace with themselves because of this truth, this quiet." Ramadan - a Bedouin from "Walking the Bible."
I have drunk from the truth of the desert. Tasted the painted landscape - the dying Acacia - crumbling rock - shade-seeking lizard - wise camels and their Bedouin leaders. I have been washed in the silence of the early morning and the brilliance of a billion stars - the grit of sand reaching into every nook and cranny. I have felt the freedom of standing naked in a barren landscape blending into and resembling finely chiseled stone.
The earth pulses in the desert. It speaks of ancient times while holding only now. Am I surprised to return home during the week celebrating St. Francis when we are called to recognize the strength and beauty of human nature and its mirror in all of creation?
The desert mirrored beauty back to me - even as my skin grew gritty, my mosquito bites blossomed into epic plague and my hair took on new designs of its own unwashed creation. I was the lizard seeking the cool shade - the camel gently rocking across uneven sand - the mother bird fiercely protecting her nest - and the painted desert floor swirling with patterns few paintbrushes would dare create.
I am home now. What does that mean?
"Wherever you are, if you are close to God, you are close. If you are far away, you are far away. It doesn't matter where you live. It matters what you feel." Anastasis - Monk @ St. Catherine's from "Walking the Bible."
I am home now. I was home there. I have learned to take home with me like a true pilgrim - one who carries my heart wherever I go. I am home and the Sinai is a part of my soul - imprinted in my heart and every fiber of my being. I am home.
Welcome to this space, my friend. Tell me... where do you find home?
Sinai Desert, 2010 ©lucy