A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive... And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us try then what love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel.
William Penn

Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations wherever you come; that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone...
George Fox

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If You Sit, You do not Proceed

Last summer, near Aix en Provence in the south of France, I was walking through a village to get some food before finding a place to camp for the night. I was called over by a man at a cafe, who subsequently invited me to stay at his house for a couple of days. The man had been a pilgrim himself, once walking to Rome. He and the friends who lived with him treated me like a king while I was there, then loaded me up with gifts when I left, one of which was a pilgrim's staff. This staff had many ancient symbols and palindromes burnt into it; most of them from the 'Alchemy Gate' of Piazza Vittorio in Rome. I wasn't very interested in the symbols or most of the palindromes, but one in particular I thought to be a practical motto for any pilgrim: SI SEDES NON IS, or, in reverse, SI NON SEDES IS. In Latin this means, IF YOU SIT YOU DO NOT PROCEED, or, in reverse, IF YOU DO NOT SIT YOU PROCEED. This may have some hidden meaning, as it came from a mystical medieval group called the Rosicrucian Order, but it's obvious meaning is simple and encouraging: 'Start walking, and you'll get to where you're going.'
I proceeded through the Alps with that staff, then left it with a host (and friend) in Torino as it had worn down from a staff to a very short stick. But I carried the words with me, proceeding to Bosnia where I carved that same palindrome onto a new staff.
That staff was left behind in Sarajevo, but again, the words remained, and I proceeded to Istanbul. However, by the time I'd reached Istanbul, the words had been left behind as well. I sat there without proceeding for a long time.
Now in Cairo, I'm again sitting without proceeding, trying to get what I think I need to proceed but without many results. The end result I'm hoping for is to get across Sinai, into Israel and Palestine to deliver my 'peace books', then out to reestablish a 'normal' life for a while. What I think I need to accomplish this is money for day to day living, new shoes, logistical help across Sinai, and an exit plan that will also require money.  I've already got hosts in Israel, and an NGO in Negev, AJEEC-NISPED  http://www.nisped.org.il/, has invited me to help Bedouins renovate a childhood center near Beer Sheva (thanks to a connection to Masterpeace in Cairo). But crossing the desert and getting out of Israel and Palestine will require help.

However, if I sit, I will not proceed. So I'll stop sitting and proceed eastward on the 27th of May, come what may. If the help I'm hoping for doesn't arrive by then, I'll find it as I go. Inshallah.


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