My "Great Love" in Jerusalem

“The Great Lover” inspired me to make a list of the things I take for granted in Jerusalem, but which nevertheless enrich my life.

‘SO MANY things to love.’  (photo credit: PXFUEL)
‘SO MANY things to love.’
(photo credit: PXFUEL)
One of the most beautiful poems ever written was penned by a British poet named Rupert Brooke, tragically killed in the First World War. During his short life (1887-1915), he wrote prolifically, and his poems are still quoted today.
In one of the most memorable, “The Great Lover,” he details all the things that were most dear to him – from “the strong crusts of friendly bread,” “the cool kindliness of sheets,” to “the benison of hot water.” It was his way of counting his blessings, and I think that is something we all need to do now and then.
On rereading his poetry recently, I was moved by the fact that although he died at 28, he lived each one of his brief years so intensely – it was almost as though he were aware that he would not be granted the time to savor and reflect. “The Great Lover” inspired me to make a list of the things I take for granted in Jerusalem, but which nevertheless enrich my life.
These I have loved:
The sound of the siren that ushers in the Sabbath, knowing that for the next 24 hours my life will be peaceful and elevated above the mundane. The wind sighing in the pine trees outside my window and the birds that nest there so that each morning I awaken to birdsong. Dawn shyly creeping on my balcony when Jerusalem is bathed in pearl as the city still sleeps.
I love the skyline of the Old City with its domes, minarets and turrets. Touching the stones of the Western Wall and communing one-on-one with the Creator. The special quality of light in Jerusalem, especially sunset when indigo shadows lengthen and the sky is strewn with stars.
I love the quiet street where I live, the feeling “I am coming home” as I turn the corner. Eating breakfast on my white dishes with their big splashes of blue and yellow flowers, and pouring milk from a fat clay jug. I love the knickknacks accumulated on my holidays abroad and in the Jaffa flea market, where I once went with a dear friend, now passed on. A pottery vase of flowers picked from my own balcony garden – a rose, a daisy, a simple geranium. And in winter, the embrace of my thick, blue dressing gown that hugs me in warmth. Old photos of people we loved who are no longer with us.
So many things to love. But none more so than the company of family and friends, the laughter of grandchildren and their children, and the trusting way they offer you their tiny hands.
The things we love the most cannot be bought with gold. They surround each of us every day, waiting to be acknowledged and appreciated. If we can take a few moments to pause and savor them, then, like the dead young poet, we can say they were lovely and – we loved!