It was toward the end of class that Dr. Lamar Cooper mentioned a potential upcoming archaeological dig. Almost in passing he mentioned the site.
Instantly my mind's eye was whisked away to not only to the sights of the Holy Land, but envisioned unearthing history in that place so drenched with Biblical significance. As my heart desperately tried to keep stride with my racing thoughts, I discovered that I was suddenly captivated by this possibility. As scenes from "Indiana Jones" played in my head, I heard the professor mention the estimated cost. The large cement stone rolled into view as my dreams desperately dashed to seek hope and an escape from the looming reality.
Taking a long breath, Israel faded as Dallas came into view. A dream. That is what Qumran was. An opportunity of a lifetime-type dream, but a dream none the less.
I did my best to sit on the dream. And by sit on it I mean trying desperately to push it out of my mind and bury it away...but it wouldn't go. Finally one day I mentioned the trip to my mom, just to see if I was crazy. She understood the chance that lay in my grasp, but also admitted that without God's provision, well... my plane would never leave the ground.
I began praying to God and pestering my Prof, every chance I got. I asked him for more details and I drank up every word like a sponge. When I asked about the expenses, though he didn't discount the price tag, he afforded me a bit of hope. God had provided for many students, such as myself, in the past. He said that provisions came from many different places, but to ask God first and then ask others.
The biggest hurdle would be my job. As much as I wanted to immaturely ignore adulthood, I knew I needed respond with responsibility. Being gone for 26 days is a lot to ask of any job. So I prayed for not only favor, but an opportunity. When the time came I nervously blurted out details and left them to pray and consider the inquiry. Before I left home for Christmas, I was given the best Christmas gift ever. My bosses presented me with permission to pursue my dream.
Over my Christmas vacation in Brownsville, I collaged images and coalesced words into a coherent letter. Before I could return home, two different sources brought Israel many miles closer with their generous contributions.
Ever since my return to Dallas, I have been waiting with eager anticipation. Children on Christmas morning, along grooms on wedding days, know my plight. As soon as I returned to class I asked my professor about the state of the trip. The news was grave. The gentleman in charge of the dig had lost a relative in the United States. He would be taking a month off to see to his family and to grieve. Sadness upon sadness. Though the travels were still possible, it was still currently up in the air. Certainty was adjourned until the board would reconvene at a later date.
With every week I eagerly inquire of Dr. Cooper for an update. He knew little and heard even less. Time would tell, but he was resorting to acquire alternative destinations--if this one should leave us.
Finally, this week there is the most definitive news yet! The board will meet on February 15th to uncover the fate of this archaeological dig. In addition, it is said that the senior members are favorable about a positive outcome for the trip!
I still don't know if this trip will come together, for me or the school. I am hoping and praying that it might. For some reason I have always wanted to be involved with archeology. I even took a summer class in elementary school about it. Yet this long-held dream can't hold a candle against the burning passion of seeing the Holy Land with my own eyes.
Perhaps this trip isn't for me, but I would like to visit at some point. Somewhere deep inside I feel that visiting Jerusalem would be like envisioning the Bible. As I turn a corner, I turn another page. Every step, a step closer to understanding the words--nay, the heartbeat of the Bible. The smells, the heat, the sounds, the heat, the food, the heat and the culture would burn its way onto my heart. John knew Jerusalem well. He also saw the "New Jerusalem" coming down. I want to see the "New Jerusalem," but I don't have that option now. Today I can only witness the "Old Jerusalem" in all its splendor.
Perhaps it is my flawed human logic, but there is a strong yearning in my soul that as I walk in Jesus' footsteps, I want to walk where His foot stepped. What an adventure this could be!