Today, we are happy to share the next chapter in our online novel, Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage by Cheryl Dickow.
Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage was a true labor of love for author Cheryl Dickow whose own passions for the Holy Land and the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith are almost unquenchable. Elizabeth is the first work published by Bezalel Books which Cheryl established in late 2006; it centers on a woman whose life is at a crossroads and her realization that the only way to get back on track is to get to the roots of her faith—in the Holy Land—if it isn’t too late. Since the release of Elizabeth, Bezalel Books has published 40 additional titles that are perfect for the Catholic home, school or parish. Elizabeth is available in paperback or in Kindle format. Cheryl is also the author of the recent non-fiction book Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting with Her Past.
As Mountains surround Jerusalem, the Lord surrounds his people both now and forever. Psalm 125:2
Elizabeth’s first day in Israel had been a huge success. Everything that she had prayed for seemed to have materialized. When Beth planned the trip her interest was in experiencing the fabric of everyday life in the promised land, not in the removed experience of a tourist or vacationer. Elizabeth wanted to know, up close and personal, what it was like to live as a “chosen one.” It was a phrase that she had both envied and feared during her many bible studies over the years. Having taught middle school for the better part of a dozen years, Beth knew the perks that came from being a “chosen” one in a school setting. Usually they were the athletes or the kids who behaved and excelled in all they did. Their accomplishments stacked up like pancakes at the local IHOP restaurant. They were “chosen” and there wasn’t anything that could stand in their way.
The Jews, however, didn’t have that same experience. Beth was particularly absorbed in the story of Judge Deborah when it occurred to her the tremendous burden that came with that precious title. Her heart skipped a beat reading about Jael and Judge Deborah following God’s call on their lives and defeating the Canaanites. Yes, it was a great burden to be God’s chosen people with as many punishments as there were rewards. This was very unlike anything that the typical “chosen” students at school had ever experienced. You couldn’t help but pause at the implications.
Beth washed her face, brushed her teeth, and put her clothes on the back of the vanity chair. She pulled on her lounge pants and a long sleeved t-shirt. Her final effort of the day was made in throwing her socks in the hamper and pulling on a pair of fresh white cotton socks.
Ready for bed, Beth walked right past the bedroom and into the living room of what was to be her home for the next two weeks. She saw a few magazines and newspapers on a small end table that was located between two very large chairs and decided to read for a few minutes before settling in for the night. The coffee had a bit more power than her fatigue and she knew better than to climb in bed only to toss and turn. She clicked on the floor lamp next to one of the chairs and settled into the firm seat. It had a reclining feature and she pushed a button that brought out the hidden footrest.
Groaning, she remembered that she needed her glasses and pushed the footstool back under so that she could get out of the chair. Walking over to the counter on which she had placed her tote bag, she searched for her glasses. Finding them, she shuffled back to the chair, relieved to feel a slow sense of sleep settling into her mind and body.
Picking up the magazine, Beth was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a Christian edition of the Jerusalem Post. Wondering who could have been so thoughtful to leave this paper for her enjoyment, she read through the table of contents. The paper was published by the Jerusalem Post, which was an English paper. This particular edition included an interview with a well known Christian author, speaker, and advocate of Israel. It also held articles touting the beauty of Galilee among other things. No longer than fifty pages, the magazine was sure to become Beth’s favorite reading material over the next few days. She knew she would read it cover to cover and began with the “News in Brief” articles.
Before she finished the fifth small summary, Beth was close to falling asleep. Knowing her back would need a mattress and not a chair, she forced herself to get up and get into bed. Barely getting through her nighttime devotions of gratitude and praise, she was fast asleep.