Handcuffs on the step just outside the convent where I am staying in Jerusalem. Israeli policemen had been resting there as I had been returning earlier. In fact I had made a joke to the receptionist that they were well guarded. She didn’t laugh!
I looked around. There was no one in sight. I bent over and picked them up, cold heavy steel. The only handcuffs I had ever held were plastic ones the boys got when we were children. These were serious business.
I brought them inside the convent thinking this was the closest place |I could responsibly bring them. The receptionist’s face blanched and she said, ‘police, go out’ I tried to explain but it became very obvious that the handcuffs weren’t going to spend any time with the receptionist. I thought … just or a millisecond mind you, that they might make an interesting souvenir….just a millisecond, before I put them back where I found them.
What about a photo! A more appropriate souvenir
It needed context. Soooo, I backed up to get a fuller shot and tripped on the step behind me!
In another millisecond, I was being tenderly helped to my feet by a very concerned Israeli policeman.
“Are you OK?”
“I think so,” feeling quite shaken!
Holding, steadying me, ” Are you sure?
Giving myself a mental check-up; I can stand, I don’t feel sharp pain, ‘Yes, I’m sure!’
In that millisecond before thought, one reached out to another in need In that moment, lies our true humanity, our relationship to each other. This is who we are, before we remember what we have been taught.
The next moment for him brought into focus my vest..a symbol of where i stood in the peace process; the next, (a relief, I’m sure,), the handcuffs, he hadn’t realized were missing.
At that same moment, I saw an Israeli police officer – a cog in the wheel of a brutal occupation. Maintaining eye contact for a moment longer, we back away from each other and go our separate ways
I am left to ponder those in between moments ……opportunities to remember who we really are!