I returned after high school to study at the university, became a teacher, attempted domestic love, dreamed of a family of my own, watched the rise of violence and hatred and the demise of hope unfold in ugly and terrifying chaos.
I visited a few times after leaving, tearful, traumatised, apologetic in a thousand directions, understanding with desperation that I was inevitably connected, bound and sentimental.
But sometimes, just sometimes, maybe it's ok to allow ourselves to just take a break from the categories and implications and just be.
A week in Jerusalem, a warm visit with family. Permission to get neither literary nor political about it, I granted to myself, most likely out of "intensity- fatigue"... it wasn't all that conscious a decision.
If we have a conscience in this world, given its current state, we're in for a strenuous and emotional ride, hard social work, and exhausting evaluation and criticism.
For once, I took a break, in the most intense place I know. I learned that I could and I should, at least once, give myself that permission, and yes, I am privileged to have been able to. I am aware.
Jerusalem, you complicated beast of a city, through a lens of gentle simplicity, you have quite a modest beauty. I cherished this visit in ways only my former self can truly understand. On some very important level, our human trivialities and tragedies mean nothing to your hills and valleys. Eternity is a non judgmental witness through which we all pass very fleetingly.