A doorway niche in the old city of Jerusalem.
So there is a little story about me that my dad thinks is funny, about when we went to the Olympics in Norway when I was in 8th grade. I had been uninvited from the trip for some reason or another – related to my teenage behavior as I recall. And so at the metaphorical eleventh hour, with my family asleep, suitcases packed beside the door, my dad woke me up at two in the morning with second thoughts of letting me come. The only catch – I had two hours to pack before it was time to leave for the airport.
So pack I did. And I was ready to go when it was time.
And to this day my dad chuckles and says that I’m ready for anything on the spur of the moment.
The rooftops of Jerusalem at night.
So about a month ago, on Mother’s day, I sat reading my email on my phone while subbing in Nursery (don’t judge, yo!) and my dad invited me along on a trip he had planned for Israel. My whole family was going to be spending time in Europe and the Mediterranean the week before, and my sister and dad planned to extend to Israel the week afterwards. But since my mom didn’t want to go, Dad invited me along.
As I read this email the proposal was for less than two weeks away.
Which was more heads up than the trip to Norway.
Golgotha, or Calvary, or “Place of the Skulls” – I stumbled upon this place by accident when wandering around completely lost. It stopped me in my tracks because I knew instantly what it was I was looking at.
There are very few trips that would have tempted me to go – in fact, I honestly can’t think of any that would have won me away from my children for that long – except for Israel. It has been a dream of mine to go ever since I first applied for the Jerusalem Program at BYU. I didn’t opt to go, instead choosing to marry my boyfriend at the time, who was (is) SO HOT. And then the program was shut down that semester anyway.
Still, I studied the Middle East, got a minor in it actually. I took Early Islamic History, and Imperial Islamic History, and European Jewish History, and Middle Eastern Jewish History, and Islamic Art History and Arabic and Modern ME Politics, and ME Political History and on and on and on . . . I found that region of the world to be so fascinating.
So I always told Wyatt: “As soon as they reopen the Jerusalem program, you and I are going to go there on a trip!” They reopened just after Olivia was born, and we never made it over there.
The Garden Tomb – I found this place when I was wandering around lost. It was beautiful. I felt like I had stepped into a Greg Olsen painting.
So the invitation from my Dad was an invitation to fulfill a dream.
At the end of my dad’s invitation he asked: “[D]o you still have your “give me two hours to pack and I’m ready to go” talent?!?!!”
And I responded, from my phone, in the middle of Nursery . . .
“Give me two hours to pack!”
The BYU Jerusalem Center chapel. I was able to go to church here on the “Shabbat” -they have church here on Saturday’s. It was fast and testimony meeting, and I was able to bear my testimony in Israel!
So later that afternoon, after church, as we drove to Highland to enjoy dinner with my in-laws, I casually mentioned to Wyatt that my dad had invited me to Israel. He asked a few questions, and I just pulled the email up on my phone and read it to him.
He said . . . “I definitely think you should go! You’ve got to do that!” and then he paused for a moment, thinking about it, and said – “Wait – you already responded and told him you would go, didn’t you!”
And I just laughed.
The streets of the old city. This is in a residential quarter. Most of the city was full of markets and street vendors.
*But that’s because I already knew what Wyatt’s response would be. I know him, and I know he’s a big believer in fulfilling dreams. I knew he’d be on board 100%, that’s why I felt no qualms about committing to go before I had officially talked to him.