Holy Land 2023 (Seyi)

Seyi’s Holy Land 2023: the final post!

As I reflect on what was the last day of our pilgrimage, I am also reflecting on my process of publishing my experiences to this blog. Writing is “always there” for me and poetry specifically, is always accessible wherever I am, as long as I have a pen and paper. (And if that is not available, then I’ll use my phone.) But this was my first time to share my poetry with the unknown world of the internet. It has been a process of choosing to be vulnerable while hyper aware of my words at the same time, using my core value of authenticity as the guiding light through it all.

I give many thanks to the awesome Penny for inviting me to be a guest author on “Always Bridging”. The opportunity was a wonderful gift and it deepened my processing of the pilgrimage experience. And I am grateful for those who have read these posts and joined the journey through this virtual lens.

Now with much gratitude: I present the ultimate (last) post for the series.

Pilgrimage Day 8: We started with Sunday service at St. George’s Cathedral and had the very special opportunity to meet with the archbishop. After lunch I spent time in St. George’s courtyard, where I sat in the sun writing (and re-applying my sunscreen!), soaking up the beautiful space (photo shown below). Later, a subset of us visited the Hadassah Medical Center to see the Chagall Windows. I was not previously familiar with this famous artist’s work. It was another wonderful opportunity to observe beautiful art and learn about its inspiration and history. The Medical Center also featured other artwork; my favorite piece was the sculpture shown in the photo above. I deliberately captured “Healing Our World Together” in the background.

I wrote my last poem for the pilgrimage during my time in St. George’s courtyard that afternoon, my final letter to the Holy Land.

3/12/2023 1:26 pm

Dear Living Stones,

In courtyard peace, we sit at nexus with time’s changing hand. A people who wander from exile to exile the other. Let us remember this: We are all of the land. In bread and olives, the cheese offers this blessing for new life. Water flows upstream to see the gifts that The Fountain spoke to The Well. Here I sit, with birds calling for a new way to be. The Fountain reminds me that there is always room for renewal in its pool. Just come closer.

In stillness, today there is not a cloud in abundant sky to cover my shame. I am still afraid. Fear binds me to this chair draped over thorns, vines in regret. But even the fruit fly who sips my coffee reminds me that I am okay.

In grace, I kneel before The Fountain. Flounder dreams below arches of the bishop blessed. Surrender sealed in water holy. Relinquish all you carry to the sacred: this pool.

In reflection, I see the bird nest hide. I have lost my shadow. We drown our memories together. It is here that I find my peace in St. George’s courtyard, underneath God’s grace in the Jerusalem Sun.

In depth with gratitude,


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