Three days ago I arrived in the Holy Land for a 4 month study abroad. Yesterday evening we had the opportunity to welcome in the Sabbath with the Jews at the Western Wall. A brief background: the Western Wall is the last remnant of the retaining wall of the ancient temple, and is considered a place of great holiness. Many Jews go there to place a written prayer in one of the many cracks of the depleted wall. They believe that those are the prayers that God answers first. From far away it just looks like a really big wall, but as you approach you find prayers recorded on different sizes, colors, and types of paper squeezed into every available crevice of the wall. On the ground next to the wall are hundreds of slips of paper that have fallen out over the last couple months.

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As I was standing at the wall, I was awe-struck by all the slips of paper representing thousands of individuals’ faith. I see it as a metaphor for life. I am kind of like a giant, ancient wall. I have experiences that build me up and also experiences that take a piece out of me. There are times when I feel sturdy and formidable. There are other times when I feel like I’m falling apart and crumbling down. But regardless of how I’m feeling about my life, it is critical that I fill in the cracks with my faith. Not everything is going to make sense to me, and perfection simply is not within reach during mortality, but as I fill the cracks in my understanding and in my weaknesses with faith, I can withstand whatever blows come at me.

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