Jerusalem Journal # 171
There has been a lot of construction going on around me in recent months and the message that keeps hammering away in both my head and my heart is “Make it count, not just for today, but for years into the future.” Snap decisions can lead to design flaws which are costly and may eventually haunt you. Even during a project, questions can gnaw at the vision, causing you to wonder if it is worth the time, expense, or headaches. Thoughts of a shortcut or “quick-fix” can sabotage significance.
Domes are ubiquitous in Jerusalem’s Old City. Chances are that when you see a painting of the Old City it is replete with domes, whether crowning churches, synagogues, or as an Islamic architectural style of roofing for both mosques and houses. Full of symbolism and resembling the heavenly canopy, a dome draws your eye upward and, viewed from the interior, offers a sense of shelter and security.
I have watched the transformation of “the dome in my backyard” as it segued from wearing a garment of drab blistering tar and paint to being sheathed in a masterpiece of Italian metalwork. Thirty years of intense Middle Eastern sun, winds, and winter rains had taken a toll which was threatening to damage the church below so local craftsman, Abu Ata and his crew, prepared an elaborate scaffolding in advance of an Italian team of dome experts from Rome who flew to Jerusalem with all of their high-tech equipment for metal bending and precision fitting, along with gargantuan rolls of heavy-gauge aluminum.
The dome job is now completed, the fancy equipment left our courtyard to wing its way back to Italy, and Abu Ata and company slowly, nail by nail, removed the wooden supports which made it possible for men to safely (?) conquer the semi-spherical structure.
Living on the top floor of a building has its advantages for privacy; that is, until the worksite invades that privacy. To my chagrin, I occasionally awoke during construction, only to realize that our friendly (already at work) work crew could see into our apartment bedroom as I hurriedly threw the covers over my head. I have to say, I now miss being at eye level with the workers as they scaled from one scaffolding level to the next like tightrope walkers, allowing for great photographs and friendly waves.
Scanning the horizon of the Old City from my rooftop perch this afternoon I notice multiples of domes sporting green, gold, white concrete, verdigris copper, Ottoman-era stone, but now, this dome is unique with its silvery matte finish which will reflect a wise investment for years in the future.
We are making preparations for the future at The Place of Stories, as well, and back in April, scaffolding was part of the landscape as we expanded our tent pegs on the ridge above the Sea of Galilee. With an increase in the number of friends asking for Gary’s expertise to film their projects in Israel we are hosting more production crews and others wanting to support The Writers’ Gathering while enjoying the intimacy of a home away from home.
When we choose writers to bring here to Israel we look at their work. Is the crafting of their stories structured well? Are their stories significant and will they hold a value for future years? What about those projects or people in whom you’ve chosen to invest? Are they changing the landscape for the better? God has invested Himself in each one of us. Relish your unique role!
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