In my current locale, change happens much faster, and much more fundamentally. For example, in the last four months, three new families moved into my building of eight units (including us); and one person died. That's some pretty fundamental changes happening in a pretty small space. Personally, I love it, but I can still see it's pretty intense.
Life today is anyway so uncertain and so unpredictable, even when we're living somewhere superficially sleepy and 'calm'. There's a certain tension under the surface at the moment, that only amplifies in quiet surroundings. At least in Jerusalem, I get the feeling that the 'change', whatever it is, is out in the open. It's exhilarating, but also sometimes a bit mind-bending.
Yesterday, I took my daughter to her friend's bat mitzvah in Ir David (City of David). The City of David is an official government tourist site; it's the place of Warren's Shaft; King David's Palace, and a few other things besides.
It's also home to a growing community of Jews, who live cheek-by-jowl next to a whole bunch of unfriendly cousins, in Silwan Village. In order to get to the bat mitzvah, we first had to pass three armed guards and prove we had a reason to be in the City of David after hours; then, we walked past Warren's shaft, and the ancient ruins from the first temple, and the lookout point over Silwan Village, to get to the heavily-fortified front door. Another quick video ID process later, my daughter was inside and celebrating.
I walked back along the promenade in the City of David, marvelling to myself that this is my life. The place I used to visit as a tourist is now the place where my kids' friends live. Bizarre.
But wonderfully so.
As we head into Spring and Pesach, I have a growing feeling that the changes ahead will only be good ones. We can all feel it in the air. We can feel that the world is gearing up for some sort of new reality. For years, I found that idea terrifying, but now it's actually really growing on me.
As Rebbe Nachman teaches, we have a tendency to look back and lament 'the good old days', but really, God is running the world better than ever, and there's no reason why that shouldn't continue. Changes are coming, there's no question. But I'm starting to believe that instead of them being changes for the worst, they may actually be the best ones yet.