I apoogize for the sporadic blogging. I know everyone is desperately waiting for the scattered thoughts that I choose to send out to cyberspace. But after my desert walk about I had 2 days in Groningen and then left again for some time in Seattle. It has been good to be back. I haven’t been back for 2.5 years which feels like a blink and an eternity at the same time. Some things have changed…some things haven’t. There have been many new additions to families. Some of my favorite restaurants and coffee shops are gone…some are still there. (Disclaimer for my Dutch friends…coffee shops here are where you actually go to buy COFFEE not marijuana) There seems to be construction everywhere. The weather is exactly how I remember it. I still love the white lights in downtown Seatte for the holidays. Advent season at Bethany Community Church has brought a peace to my heart. And the microbrews have not disappointed. This still feels like home and it is good for my soul.
So I will pick up blogging a bit more regularly in 2013 but right now I am giving myself the space for a giant exhale as 2012 comes to a close.
On Friday I completed my 3.5 week desert walk about and made my way back to the cold, cold Netherlands. Seriously, it snowed today…talk about a temperature adjustment. And even though I enjoyed my time in Jordan, Bahrain and Dubai it is not a region I would want to make a permanent residence. I am built for moderate rainy climates.
Location of Bahrain on the Persian Gulf
The last stop on my desert tour was back in Bahrain for several days at the end of November. This is not a country I would normally choose (I actually had no clue where it was) but was drawn towards it as I began to learn more and more about the “Tree of Life” surviving in the desert. If you’ve been following my journey you’ll know that this tree has been my talisman this year (Click here for a link to my blog post describing it). A mental image that I would meditate on. I loved the thought of stubborn life thriving in such a harsh desert with no known water source. Bad ass. So, of course I had to see it and God opened the doors to make it happen.
Kendall in the Grand Mosque
I had an old friend who just moved to Bahrain with her husband and I invited myself over to stay with them…fortunately for me they were so lovely and accommodating and made me feel like they even LIKED having me around for a week. Since they were also new to the area we did a lot of exploring together…cafes, the National Museum, The Grand Mosque, a camel farm and of course the tree. There was some political tension in the country but we didn’t feel much of the effects and I never felt unsafe as we were out and about. Apparently the protests kicked into high gear the day after I flew out because Kim Kardashian flew in to open a milk shake store and people were upset about her bad reputation. (side note: why is she famous again?)
I was asked a few times what
brought me to Bahrain and I had a variety of answers but I laughed every time I told someone that a big reason was to see the “Tree of Life”…their face would scrunch up and they would say “Really?? It’s pretty underwhelming.” I wanted to reply “You have no idea…I just need that sucker to be there and alive in the desert.” And it was. The first thing I noticed on the drive is that the desert in Bahrain is desolate. I was blown away by the beauty of the desert in Jordan…this was NOT the case in Bahrain. It was rocky. It was flat. It was stark. Once you leave the capital of Manama in the north there isn’t much civilization the further south you drive. Some oil refineries and military bases but in general a lot of nothing…except the tree.
Me and the Tree of Life
The thing I noticed about the tree is that it was not underwhelming at all!! It was quite big and green and very much ALIVE. It was isolated and exposed to the elements on all sides which made its survival that much more impressive. The Bahrain government has plans to make a visitors center around the tree but I’m glad I got to see it before they do that…it seems like that might ruin the experience a bit.
There isn’t much more to say except: I am that tree in the desert…thriving and surviving…tapped into my living water source Jesus Christ.