Complex Memories

By: Mae Helen Jackson (Chicago, IL)

Writing about an experience that you feel removed from is difficult. Tapping back into those feelings, and having to dig deep to pull yourself out of your current personal tornados… it’s a complicated task.
It is a task that requires me to recall the pain I felt in Hebron. Watching soldiers toy with a young man’s freedom out of boredom, flicking a cigarette at him as if the young man were a bothersome rodent as he begged the soldier to open a recently erected fence; a fence forcing Palestinians to trek far around their community to get to a place a mere two minutes from their housing complexes. It asks that I allow those feelings bubble over again–memories of a country entrenched in a psychological warfare so thick you feel it on your skin. It is anxiety inducing at best.

However…. you’re also invited to remember the places you found Jesus; hanging out in the midst of the turmoil as he likes to do (it’s sort of his thing).
You remember youth and young adults, excited to perform their dance for the first time, in front of foreigners no less!
And you think of the craftsman, hand carving Nativity scenes envisioned with Three Wise Men behind a wall, blocked off from Jesus by Occupation.
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Trip participants with Jack Giacaman and his daughter, the owner and operated of an olive wood shop in Bethlehem. 

You are reminded of the beauty and unfairness of resiliency. You are reminded of home, you are reminded of love, you are reminded of solidarity and the longing for more of it.
Memories are complex, and require you to be delicate with yourself and with others. I am grateful for all of these memories, all of these people. And most importantly for the holy sights bestowed upon me by Palestine.
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