Loading

Chapter Fifteen - Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage

Cheryl Dickow

Cheryl Dickow

Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage is available in paperback and on kindle and is being reprinted on Catholic News Agency with author’s permission. Cheryl’s non-fiction book is called Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting with Her Past.

Chapter Fifteen

A thousand years in your eyes are merely a yesterday. But humans you return to dust, saying, “Return, you mortals!” Psalm 90:3-4

Mitzi had done a masterful job in explaining Shivah to Beth. For two days Beth was very much part of the Goldfarb clan. She was not at all surprised at the number of friends they had, even though their family was small. Beth also found out that a typical Jewish funeral was held within twenty-four hours of death but that Ayala’s had been delayed an extra day to allow family from the states to arrive.

At the end of the second day Beth knew she had to make a call to Luke. If too much time passed, he would be beside himself and that wouldn’t do her kids any good. Beth knew that Luke would be paying special attention to news about the Middle East and that any report of the recent bombing would have him frantic.

Although she wasn’t anxious to share the awful news, she made the call. She also knew that she couldn’t get by with leaving another message. That was the coward’s way out and Luke deserved better.

The phone rang three times. One more time and voicemail would pick up.

“Hello?” Luke answered.

“Hi! How are you?” Beth sincerely wanted to know.

“We are doing great. Doing my best to keep the house up for you. Enjoying time with the boys. Catching a glimpse of Sophia as she runs from here to there. Hey, did you know that conferences were this week?” Luke had obviously not heard news of the explosion.

Beth had actually forgotten about conferences and said so.

“No biggie. I can make it. Meghan is enjoying my shortened schedule because it is giving her more time off!”

“Well hopefully that shortened schedule will still be working for you when I get back so that I can enjoy it too.” Beth cringed at the words and yet felt they were spoken in all honesty. She did hope that Luke would shorten his hours so that they could get to know each other again.

The sarcasm wasn’t lost on Luke who remained silent for a few seconds before saying, “So, what kind of sights have you been enjoying?”

This was it, Beth’s opening to somehow share what had been happening during her stay in Israel. “Well,” she began. “I’m not sure where to begin so I’ll just go ahead and say this. You know the Goldfarbs, the family who has been so gracious to me? Well, on Sunday, at the end of our day at the marketplace, there was an explosion and Ayala was killed.”

Luke’s previous silence had been a warm up act for what now followed. Beth wasn’t sure if she should continue talking or wait for him to digest what she had just said. She opted to wait. She thought of the countless times she had seen people interviewed on television and how a reporter would masterfully let an interviewee speak endlessly, hanging him or herself in the interim. Beth didn’t want the same thing happening to her and restrained herself from offering further information until asked.

After a full minute, Luke asked in rapid succession, “Are you okay? Are you hurt? Who set off the explosion?”

All legitimate questions, Beth thought, and since she had never opened the paper to get more information about the event was able to honestly say, “I’m fine. I’m not physically hurt. And, I don’t know who was behind this.”

Silence preceded Luke’s next question which took Elizabeth by surprise. “How are her husband and children? That must be a horrible thing to go through.”

Every once in a while Luke did this to Beth. She expected to have to fight to remain in Israel and here her husband was inquiring as to the well-being of the surviving Goldfarbs. She was touched. “Considering the circumstances, they are as well as can be expected.”

“I assume you want to finish your stay? Or do you want to come home early? Beth, your obligation is to your family.” Beth could tell from the tremor in Luke’s voice that he was pacing the floor and choosing his words very carefully. Luke was a very protective man, both to her and to the children. Sophia’s dates dreaded it when Luke was home. He was never overtly rude to them but he never, ever went out of his way to make them feel welcome.

In some ways it felt suffocating but in other ways it was comforting. Mostly it depended on Beth’s mood as Luke remained the same throughout their married life. He was a rock. He loved and cared for his family unlike anyone Beth had ever known.

“No, I don’t want to come home early. I want to stay. I want to offer my help in any way. These are wonderful people Luke and if it is at all possible, I feel like I have known them forever.”

“Beth, I don’t agree with that decision. It is one thing to hear of tragic events but quite another to have been involved, first hand. I believe you need to come home.”

Beth knew Luke needed to see that Beth was safe and would remain safe while she was in Israel. She wanted to reassure him but didn’t know how. Life felt more and more like happenstance, chance, luck of the draw, and she knew there were no words to allay Luke’s fears.

“Luke, please, I do not want to come home yet. I want to finish my trip, as planned. So, what have you guys been doing?”

Luke remained silent, obviously weighing the pros and cons of boarding a plane and forcefully bringing his wife back home. Not happy with Beth’s decision but knowing that it was firm, he proceeded to tell Elizabeth that he had been somehow inspired to take the children to church on Sunday. Beth felt that there was no coincidence in the timing. The Lord knew she would need to be covered in prayers and Luke had responded to the call. They were more connected than she had realized.

They finished their conversation with Beth asking about Michael and to speak to Sophia, Joseph, and Sammy. She spent a few minutes telling them how much she loved them and then hung up. Sammy told her that Luke had taken over her “tucking in” responsiblities but that he wasn’t near as good as she was. Sammy had always liked his back rubbed a certain way and that had been Elizabeth’s job from the start but she had to admire Luke for giving it the old college try.

When Beth hung up the phone, it was late in the day. She languidly moved around the apartment. There had been a silent stand-off between her and the paper on the counter. After the first glance at the headlines, she had folded the paper in half, headlines inside, and had yet to open it. Still not ready, she walked past it and into the kitchen for a glass of water.

She couldn’t remember if she had eaten any dinner and rummaged through the cupboards. Nothing there. Mitzi had given her a small bag of groceries and Beth had loaded them into the refrigerator without really paying attention. Opening the refrigerator door Beth saw, with tremendous gratitude, a few containers of hummus, tabouli, and cheese. There was a box of matzoh in the cupboard and she made herself a nice, light meal. She sat at the table and looked out at the city. How could such a holy and anointed place hold such sadness and tragedy? She couldn’t get over the inconsistency.

Getting up, Beth walked into the kitchen and washed her lone plate and fork. There was still food in the containers in the fridge and she knew Mitzi wouldn’t mind if it were a day or two until they were returned. One common denominator Beth had found among everyone she had met was that, without an exception, they were all truly giving people. Nothing was said without sincerity. If someone offered to do something for you, he or she meant it.

There was great peace in that knowledge and Beth made a pact with herself to work on that trait. She had always been the kind of person to offer this or that and then felt overwhelmed if taken up on her offers. From now on she would offer her time or effort and consider it a “mitzvah” if she was then called upon to deliver. She needed more mitzvahs and less stress. Mitzi and Ayala and Miriam and all the Goldfarb friends and neighbors had shown her how to embrace the opportunities God gave for each and every one of us to do good deeds for one another.

The previous chapters are listed below:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Topics: Books , Faith

Cheryl Dickow is a Catholic wife, mother, author and speaker. She co-authored and published the best-selling All Things Girl books and co-hosted the EWTN 13 part televison series of the same name. Her company is Bezalel Books (Bezalel is Hebrew and means "in the shadow of God") where her goal is to publish great Catholic books for families and classrooms that entertain while uplifting the Catholic faith. Her website is www.BezalelBooks.com where parents, teachers and catechists are invited to browse through titles.  

View all articles by Cheryl Dickow

Ads by Google
(What's this?)

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

RECENT POSTS

OUR TOPICS

Abortion (42)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (2)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (14)  Church teaching (28)  Contraception (22)  Culture (119)  Current Events (85)  Dating (15)  Death (4)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (12)  Eucharist (3)  Exercise (3)  Faith (213)  Family (86)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (12)  Fertility (2)  Fitness (1)  Food (2)  Forgiveness (17)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (2)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (14)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (12)  Liturgical Year (9)  Marian devotion (8)  Marriage (33)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (1)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (4)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (55)  Movies (1)  Music (4)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (44)  Personal Growth (105)  Politics (3)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (31)  Pro-Life (26)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (4)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (10)  Saints (9)  Scripture (6)  Service (8)  Sexuality (18)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (2)  Suffering (13)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (3)  Women's Health (20)  Workplace (12)  Writings of the Saints (8)  Young Women (39) 

Apr
21

Liturgical Calendar

April 21, 2014

Monday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Gospel:: Mt 28:8-15

Saint of the Day

Holy Thursday »

Saint
Date
04/21/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: