The Seeker

In between times …is NOW.


So near, yet so far

Pyramid from Hotel Egypt

The view from the hotel window, I could see the pyramids. It’s so close. I can’t wait to walk the desert sand for this great adventure to touch the stones of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. But first we have to rest until the following day. Talking about excitement! It’s just there, why can’t we go now. No can do, patience is a virtue.

EgyptHa! Just there? Not quite. It was actually way too far and a camel is required to traverse this land. Since it was an imposing structure, it appears close but it was far.


A Mystical Garden

Olive trees are in abundance in Holy Land but what I wanted to see, touch, hug and take a leafy twig is the olive tree where Jesus prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane.  I am pretty sure everyone that visits this garden has the same idea as me.  If we ever touch, hug and take a twig from the olive tree, we would have loved the tree to death.

An iron gate enclosed the trees to keep them safe and unreachable from the public.  It is a very soulful place to imagine what happened during Jesus’ time.  I don’t believe that these are the same trees but according to scientific evidence, these trees are about a 1,000 years old. Jesus’ time was about 2,000 year ago.
P187a Olive Tree
When we visited the garden, pruning of the trees was happening to encourage new growth.  There were plenty of cuttings on the ground.  I approached the gardeners if I could have a twig.  One lady waved her finger indicating no.  It was rather absurd that I can’t have a twig when the cuttings may be thrown away.

I stood by the fence for the longest time watching them prune and longing for an olive branch.  Then one of the gardeners came towards me and gave me a leafy twig.  Bless her heart.

I walked away filled with gratitude and to catch up with the group that are already in the Church of All Nations.

The Church is reserved for an hour for us to spend time by the rock where Jesus wept and perspired blood.  It is a holy hour of quiet meditation, prayer and thanksgiving. In thanksgiving for having the olive leaves, I placed it on the rock.  These leaves will be a symbol that I have something original and not bought from the market place.  A holy souvenir that I’m proud to take home with me.

One hour went by so fast when I was in deep meditation.  The effect of being silent is rejuvenating as if I my inner garden has been worked on.

What happened next is unthinkable when I picked up the leafy twig, plucked one leaf at a time, gave them to my co-pilgrims and said peace be with you.

What made me do this?  I took the courage and the trouble to get the olive twig only to give them away.  I did not see this coming.

I was left with a leafless twig.  I kept the twig for the longest time and carried it with me in my purse only to give that away as well.

The strangest part is I was happy to give them away.


A Pilgrim’s wish

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Song: Oh Little Town of Bethlehem)It is difficult to express the absolute bliss that I felt during this unique spiritual adventure.  As I literally followed the footsteps of Jesus, the journey with Him and other pilgrims made the Bible come to life especially where Jesus Christ was born.

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The journey does not make me a better person instead it opened my eyes to the rich tapestry of other religious history such as Judaism and Islamic religion. As humans, we are passionate for peace and reconciliation.  However, when I saw the walls that surrounded Bethlehem, it was heart breaking.
The Holy Land experience unites all pilgrims as one whether we are Jewish, Muslim or Christians.  We all came as a believer.
My only wish is that may this place be open to all nations without dividing walls and the heritage of this magnificent land remains preserved.


Star of Bethlehem: A Pilgrim Story

The Holy Land is not so holy when the Israelis occupy the land of the Palestine’s, the Muslims building mosque on top of the Christian church and the Christians are now a minority.  There is always trouble yet I went twice on pilgrimage.

Part of the Christmas story that I love the most is the story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.  It seems like a fairy tale when the bright star shone on Bethlehem where Jesus was born.  Herod, the deceitful king, sent the Magi to look for Jesus.  The Magi followed the bright star, found Jesus, paid homage to Him, left and went on another direction never to report to Herod.

Christmas reminds me of my last night at Holy Land.

We spent our remaining few days to rest at a resort by the Dead Sea, Jordan side after a hectic pilgrim schedule of Holy Land following the footsteps of Jesus.  From my balcony, I could literally see the walls of the old Jerusalem.  Casting my eyes beyond, I can imagine Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho, and Galilee. 

The night we were departing for Canada, I retreated to the balcony to be in solitude while I smoke and drink tea.  I was full of  gratitude to my God for making it possible for me to experience the trip of a lifetime.  It was dark and I could see a few flickering lights on top of the mountain of Israel.

Last Night at Jordan - Nov 2011

Last Night at Jordan – Nov 2011

In my silent soliloquy, I whispered: It’s good to be here, Lord. I thank you for having me.  Then I raised my right arm, waving goodbye to Israel for I know this is my last trip to Holy Land.

Goodbye, Jerusalem
Goodbye, Bethlehem
Goodbye, Nazareth
Goodbye, Jesus
Goodbye, Mother Mary
Goodbye, Saint Joseph

 As I moved my gaze, I saw a bright shining light that appears to be a star. And I thought that must have been the Star of Bethlehem.

Excitement came rushing out of my body and I must take a picture.  Made a quick dash inside the room, grabbed my camera and another pilgrim, Neli, to show her the star. This rushing must have only taken a few seconds.  When we got out, the Star is gone.  Oh, no.  It’s gone.  I was so disappointed and sad that I have no picture to show off about it. Neli gave me “the look” and walked out of the room.

At Frankfurt airport, I pulled Father Priest on the side and told him about my experience.  He simply said in his infinite wisdom, the Star is meant only for my eyes to see.  No camera can ever capture it nor could anyone see it as you did.  I was so moved by his explanation and tears of joy came flowing from my eyes.


Laden With Happiness … Golden Hour


Sunrise Jan 16, 2013

Sunrise Jan 16, 2013


Sunset Jan 16, 2013 Ambleside Beach

Sunset Jan 16, 2013 Ambleside Beach


Sunrise Jan 16, 2013 Skytrain

Sunrise Jan 16, 2013 Skytrain


Sunset Jan 16, 2013 Skytrain

Sunset Jan 16, 2013 Skytrain

One season

Sunrise at Mt. Sinai, Egypt

Sunrise at Mt. Sinai, Egypt

Following another

Sunset At Nile River

Sunset At Nile River

Laden with happiness….

Mt. Sinai Egyptian Guides

Mt. Sinai Egyptian Guides


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