In Jordan our route leads us via Jerash to Amman and subsequently to Mount Nebo, with its overwhelming view to the Jordan River Valley. The landscape around Mount Nebo is lonely, barren, meditative and picturesque.
Excerpt from the travel diary:
In the Kingdom of JORDAN. We enter JORDAN on December 10, 2010!! The exit from Syria, as well as the entry into Jordan, proceeded without a hitch until we reached the military no-go zone on the border, which we were again not allowed to cross on foot. So we took a ride in a Jordanian car we had “stopped” on the border, and thus entered quite comfortably. It had been unusually warm in Syria in the last few days, with temperatures climbing to 25 degrees Celsius, and this in December!! However, the long-awaited (but not by us!) temperature fall, with storms and freezing rain, came the next day on our way through the Jordanian mountains towards Amman!! We nearly felt as if we were at home, where deep winter conditions prevail at this time of the year... Advent on the Jerusalem Way... Advent, the quietest time of the year, the first days in December 2010, have already passed. Time on the pilgrimage to also look inward and to reflect upon the previous months. We three have been on foot together for so long already, but the last weeks on the Jerusalem Way have begun after all.
We have been allowed to experience so much up to now; the way was and surely is not always easy, but we knew that anyway! We were and will be confronted with the sunny and shadowy sides within us – on our own free will and every single day. Sometimes also surely more than I/you want. What you make out of it always remains a personal decision. Yes, going on a pilgrimage does not heal or sanctify! But, more than anything else, it offers an opportunity to this end, and to be allowed to attempt this is indescribable – a gift from God.
Currently we are in the Kingdom of Jordan, Christmas Eve is less than two weeks away, and we have walked over 4,000 kilometers (over 2,485 miles). Thus, we are not very far from reaching our great goal – to spend Christmas in Bethlehem. What we have experienced up to now is already more than we dared to expect and, God willing, we will also manage the remaining kilometers and be allowed to arrive at our destination in one piece. Arriving at the destination is important, but not more important than the journey itself, since you spend more time on the journey than on the arrival.
I now begin to think about the time a few years back when I had decided to attempt to go from home to Jerusalem. At that time already, and particularly in the last months of preparation for the pilgrimage, the one or the other conversation took place, with various people pointing to the dangers of this pilgrimage, especially in the Middle East.
Yes, this pilgrimage is not a “stroll,” and it is of course important to get well prepared. However, we should not forget that there are no certainties in life – also when politicians and advertisers try to make it clear to us (try to manipulate us into believing) that the opposite is the case. Everything is infinite – no – life is finite, since it ends with death! Or at least with what that is generally understood to be. Therefore, we should at least attempt to live our dreams (provided that we have any!), for each moment of life is then filled with sense.
Ultimately, it is a matter of each of us living or trying to live his/her “soul plan.” We feel this plan by being aware of what we are currently doing and experiencing with an inner peace and harmony. Beyond that, we can strengthen or at least open up our trust in God particularly through a pilgrimage. This trust is what should also last after a pilgrimage, a journey to one’s self and thus to God – for oneself and subsequently for one’s surroundings. In this way, every day can be complete and offer the opportunity to feel what eternity is. If we still try to consciously perceive and experience every moment, then we would know what eternity is, since the present is eternal!
Next: Israel / Palestine