Precision Is Over-Rated

The trip has not been flawless. Of course. But I have to hand it to these hearty American Presbyterians: they have really rolled with the punches, especially during our time in Zababdeh. Today was oddly frustrating, between getting lost several times (though you're never lost when in Arab society - it just gives you a chance to meet somebody new and ask them how to get there), running late, a lot of sitting and listening, traffic (I never knew how happy I was not to be an Arab Israeli busdriver), and having eaten no lunch until after 2. Lentil soup never tasted so good!

Our last stop before heading to Jerusalem was Nazareth Village, the Holy Land's version of colonial Williamsburg. I usually enjoy visiting there, but today didn't feel the same. Just worn down from a long day of missed connections.

As I was leaving, I saw a familiar face, the wife of an Anglican pastor with whom we had been quite close. For several months in 2003, I had spent all afternoon and evening with them as part of a weekly commute from the West Bank to the Galilee. Their daughter, it turns out, is headed to Atlanta tomorrow for a two week camp.

There's an Arabic proverb: "Sudfi a7san min alf mi3ad - A chance meeting is better than one thousand appointments." Had we been on time for anything today, I never would Have seen them. Perhaps that's the lesson for the day, as annoying as the extended caffeine and hunger headache was this afternoon (pause for Doogie Howser-like coda): missed connections are opportunities for unexpected ones.