A YEARLY AP­POINT­MENT

Activated - - NEWS - By Anna Perlini 1. http://www.pe­run­mon­domigliore.org

One day about three years ago, my fa­ther in­vited his five chil­dren, mar­ried and par­ents them­selves, to ac­com­pany him and my mother to the Holy Land. He was al­ready 85 and hadn’t been trav­el­ing or fly­ing for quite a few years. Up to that point, I think he had been feel­ing old and a bit wor­ried and fear­ful and had sort of closed that chap­ter of his life. But that day some­thing hap­pened, the re­sult of a com­bi­na­tion of his de­sire to visit again the places his beloved Je­sus had grown up in and his ea­ger­ness to take a trip with his fam­ily, some­thing we hadn’t done since we had all been pretty young.

It didn’t take much for all of us to say yes! In the months pre­ced­ing the trip, the seven of us met a few times to pre­pare and work out the sched­ule and de­tails. My fa­ther re­searched and came up with a per­son­al­ized guide book that cov­ered the nine days we would spend in Is­rael, Pales­tine, and Jor­dan. Ev­ery­one was as­signed re­spon­si­bil­i­ties: my fa­ther was “the pa­tri­arch,” my mom was the nurse and vi­ta­mins dis­penser, one of my broth­ers kept a di­ary, another one took care of prac­ti­cal as­pects, one of my sis­ters was the trea­surer, and the other helped with the his­tor­i­cal back­ground. Be­cause of my knowl­edge of English, I was as­signed in­ter­pret­ing du­ties.

There was much trep­i­da­tion and ex­pec­ta­tion up to the morn­ing we boarded the plane, and the nine days we spent were mag­i­cal, an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence of great sights, un­ex­pected ad­ven­tures, long, deep talks, and lots of fun. We haven’t al­ways been a lovey-dovey bliss­ful fam­ily, but with age have come wis­dom and em­pa­thy. We were able to talk about the past with af­fec­tion and ten­der­ness, and a touch of hu­mor. We came back en­riched by this ex­pe­ri­ence and def­i­nitely more united.

Since then, we’ve been tak­ing a trip to­gether as a fam­ily ev­ery year—not as long or in­volved as the first one, but each one unique. No mat­ter how busy our year is, we all know it’s one of our most im­por­tant ap­point­ments.

Now my own chil­dren are look­ing for­ward to the day my hus­band and I will take them on a trip of this kind, and oth­ers of our rel­a­tives and cir­cle of friends have be­gun do­ing this as well.

ANNA PERLINI IS A CO­FOUNDER OF PER UN MONDO MIGLIORE, 1 A HU­MAN­I­TAR­IAN OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION AC­TIVE IN THE BALKANS SINCE 1995.

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