The Jerusalem Series

The songbird and I

Once upon a time, on a day that nobody remembers, a songbird was released from its cage. I’m sure that would have been quite a day! I wish that I could have watched her finally break free into the night sky. For that night she had been gifted with a new song.

This is a tribute to my songbird and my sunshine in the wintertime. To Rita.

The first time that I saw her, she was sitting near a table in the garden, humming softly and sweetly to herself. Autumn was coming to an end, so she perched at the side of the tree in order to feel the covering warmth of the sun. I remember marveling at her beauty, her feathers were many shades of blue, yellow and green.

I began to sit down and she looked towards me;  I could have sworn that she was smirking and that her eyes were gleaming with a sparkle. She seemed mischevious, curious and witty.

After a few moments, she began to sing her song.

No creature could outsing her and no sound could intimidate her, her song was one of strength and beauty.

As the day passed and as the weeks slowly turned into months I continued to watch her.

I remember the way in which she danced around a busy courtyard filled with people, with no care in the world, she hummed her tune loud and clear.

I remember watching her fly over and above the many landmarks of the Old City – singing her harmony loud and clear. Passersby were taken aback by her vivaciousness, no note was out of tune as she twirled with joy.

She did not sing to be noticed, she only sang to share her love. She only hoped to share a gift with others. A gift that had been freely given to her.

The songbird found her joy in encouraging others. She sang her song of encouragement to both strangers and friends.

I remember one time watching her in the evening. She was tired and hummed her song quietly to all who would listen. The wind still carried the words through the courtyard and although she was hurting, she never lost her song. She continued to sing.

“Why so downcast, lady songbird?” I asked as she looked up towards the sky.

It was true, she had been freed in the past, but she longed for a greater freedom, one to be found only in the heights.

And as time went on, she kept on singing.

I once asked her how she learned to sing. My question amused her.

She explained that singing was a process and that each day she learns new lyrics to a tune that she still finds a little unfamiliar at times.

Some people laughed at the songbird and sneered at her efforts to love and to share.

“She is ignorant and foolish! She does not understand the realities of a world like ours.”

Even so, love just seemed natural to her, as I watched her mingle, and dance through the crowds; she maintained oblivious to negative discouragement.

Later in the year, I returned to the courtyard and sat underneath the tall palm tree. The blue sky was fading into a dusty sunset. I waited for the songbird. I waited until morning.

It was early when I heard the news. The songbird had gone, she had left us.

There was not a single person who did not miss her presence. The world seemed a little emptier. The courtyard, still full of people, seemed all the more empty.

Later that week, I heard a noise and as I looked to my right I saw a woman folding laundry and humming the tune of the songbird.

“Excuse me,” I said, feeling all the more embarrassed,

“Excuse me, what song are you singing?”

She looked at me and laughed a little.

” I’m singing grace, sweet amazing beautiful grace.”

I smiled.

The humble bird who had sung a simple song had touched the lives of so many.


Jerusalem series

اللغة العربية

لماذا اخترت دراسة اللغة العربية

 

قبل ٤ سنوات قررت أن أدرس اللغات في الجامعة وفي رأيي هدأ القرار كان واحد من أهم القرارات في حياتي

في العام ٢٠١٢ سافرت إلى القدس من أجل أن أكون متطوعة في منظمة كبيرة في البلدية القديمة القدس

عندما وصلت إلى القدس ما عرفت كلمة في اللغة العربية. كل يوم عندما عملت في المنطمة سمعت كل الموظفيين تحدثوا معاً في اللغة العربية واردت ان افهم كل ما قالوا. قلت لاصدقائي انني أردت ان أدرس العربية وهم قالولي سيساعدوني. هدا كان الطريق التي بدأت أن أدرس اللغة العربية

بعد أَن انتهيت من العمل التطوعي في القدس خططت ان أَدرس اللغة الانجليزية في جامعة بانغور في شمال ويلز ولكن عندما بدأَت دراسة اللغة العربية وقعت في الحب مع هذه اللغة وثقافتها

مديري في القدس سألني اذا كان يمكنني ان ابقى في القدس من اجل ان اكون سكرتيرته. هو قال اذا بقيت في القدس المنظمة سيدفعون لي لدراسة اللغة العربية في كلية هند الحسيني في الشيخ جراح في شرق القدس. قررت ان ابقى في القدس لسنة اخرى

من ثم ادركت انني لا ارغب للدراسة اللغة الانجليزية في الجامعة. بدات لبحث عن درجات في اللغات من الشرق الاوسط

وجدت دورة في اللغات من الشرث الاوسط في جامعة مانشستر وقررت ان ادرس اللغة العربية واللغة العبرية مع بعض

الآن انا اعتقد أَنَّ كل شيء يحدث لسبب


Languages

Uplifting and Encouraging

Listen, even the silence is whispering!

Click here to read more uplifting and encouraging content.

It had been a long month. Come to think of it, it had been a long few months. I leaned against the sea wall and stared out into the distance. The blurry waves were dancing along with the wind. The winter sun had long since hidden himself behind the clouds that touched the surface of the horizon. The sky was a fusion of unsuspecting colours – shades of blue and red which blended into each other like a piece of artwork.

I wish I had been able to appreciate the landscape more, it was beautiful, but my mind was a mess of tangled thoughts.

An empty, lonely, frustrated mess.

I closed my eyes and asked my heart, how would I define myself at this moment?

My heart answered within seconds.

I am pain’s captive, my feelings were the product of a hope that felt too big and a dream that was too easily shattered. I had grown accustomed to the voices of those whom I had loved, and the time had come for them to leave.

Some voices left quickly in the night, like a strong puff of breath onto a flickering flame. Gone in seconds.

Others left over time.

Once they had left it was necessary to gather the moments and the stories – all that had been shared and convert them into memories to be stored away for a rare reminiscent occasion, such as today.

The first few stars were shining in the sky.

I missed the old me, the girl who danced in the rain laughing and singing. I missed the girl who had the energy to soar through her dreams. I missed the girl who always knew the words to say. The same girl who drew big smiling faces on the steamed-up windows of cars. She seemed like a distant memory, one never to return.

I lifted up my head and watched the birds, flying in unison, shooting into the distance. Like some sort of orchestra, the waves lept higher into the sky and crashed down into the water beneath them with a magnificent voice. More stars were starting to appear. The moonlit up the sky like a flame and it’s shattered reflection danced across the water’s surface.

Within a second or two, a shooting star swept the sky.

I swear it was for me!

Everyone knows how much I love the stars.

Pain is a captor, it’s deadly grasp is very real. It convinces you that you are alone, that you were never loved and that you never will be loved. It snarls and tells you that you were an accident, a mistake and that what you are feeling is normal. It tells you that every beautiful thing you thought you had – every gift, skill and life lesson was and still is worthless. Pain says yes to hate and revenge and tells you how to fire the weapon. Pain knows what it needs to grow.

I don’t know where I am in the course of my life and I don’t know what will happen in a few days. But I do know that pain is an antonym of peace. I know that pain is often a response of the harsh realities of life, a natural response that needs to heal. Pain can lead to fear of the unknown future – the one that was not hoped for. I know that pain can often lead to anger, the antonym of love.

And I know that there is no fear in love.

Love is something pure, something often undeserved. Like it’s antonym anger, love is a choice. Love is stronger when it addresses the truth. Love chooses to protect, it chooses to trust, it constantly hopes. Love is not inward-looking, but it looks outward and pushes onwards towards a higher purpose and greater glory.

Pain is real, hope is often very distant, trust requires insecurity and waiting takes time. Everything needs time to grow. Take hold of your memories, acknowledge the losses, record each triumph and count every blessing.

Spring is coming.

I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace, I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart.  Let us praise the Lord together and exalt his name. (Psalm 34)