Mission (un)accomplished

We ran.

All around us, other parents and children were running too.

strollers screeched.

Snack bags kept falling in everyone’s wake.

Ahead lay Teddy Park, where water shoots from the ground on set times, and kids can play in it.

The water was about to shoot out in less than five minutes.

Could we make it?

To our side loomed the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, silent witnesses to our anticipation and our rush.

Above us, Jerusalem’s summer sky spread wide and blue, a fitting setting for a particularly hot day.

We crossed the street, barely waiting for the green light, as did others.

We slipped down the muddy slopes toward the (not-yet-activated! Hurray!) fountain. As did many, many others.

We discarded unnecessary clothes on the go, and prodded our kids to run ahead and join the swarm of little bodies staking claims on spots on the central platform. As did others.

We (the adults) collapsed onto benches and grassy spots and clothes piles, and exhaled in relief.

We made it!

(With only moments to spare, but we made it!)

We wiped perspiration of our brows.

We took deep breaths.

Five minutes passed. No water.

Ten minutes passed. No water yet.

The anticipation was almost a tangible thing in the air.

Fifteen minutes passed.

Twenty.

“It’s broken,” muttered an official looking guy, and walked away.

Broken??

Slowly, ever so slowly, forlorn little people started drifting off the platform. Whispers of “Is it broken? Will they fix it?” spread from one end of the park to another, followed by the sighs of tired parents.

I looked up to the Old City’s walls. The walls that witnessed centuries of anticipation, and centuries of thwarted hopes.

I guess, I thought, that this feeling – this mixture of desperation and vulnerability and pain and hope – is what waiting for the Moshiah is supposed to feel like. That is, if you really, truly, anticipate redemption.

If you really want it.

If you’re willing to stake your equilibrium and happiness, and bear the disappointments while you wait.

Around me, parents started spreading out picnic supplies.

Half-naked kids started playing tag. Little feet slapped the grass. Shrieks and laughter filled the air.

It wasn’t quite the whoosh of shooting water. It wasn’t the sound we were hoping for. But it was a lovely, joyous sound nonetheless.

I guess, I thought, that this is what life in this city-of-waiting can be like.

We’re all waiting for something. Our somethings – redemption, modernity, the return of The Good Ol’ Times – are contradictory and slow.

The systems are broken.

Changes take time.

But we can close our eyes and relax in the sunlight in the meantime.

We can enjoy ourselves together while we wait.

Rachel Sharansky Danziger

Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger

Rachel Sharansky Danziger is a life-long Jerusalemite who's in love with her city's vibrant human scene. She blogs about life in Israel, Judaism, and parenting for The Times of Israel, Sifriyat Pijama, and Kveller, and you can follow her adventures on Facebook and via her personal blog.

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