I am sitting at a Starbucks Coffee in Istanbul, near the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque.  In the days leading up to my departure for the nation of Turkey, I found myself feeling out of sorts.  I can’t know how common or uncommon it may be for you, dear reader, to feel like every noise is sharp and unwanted, every drop of rain on your wet skin is unpleasant, and even the landing of a fly within reach an unbearable nuisance.  October 30th had me sharply aware of every misery I might well have ignored.

Image

And now I am here in one of the centers of civilization as its known.  There are some 17 million beautiful children of God, brothers and sisters of mine, in this city.  I was met at the airport by two of them.  Bruna and Rukiam were waiting for me at the public receiving area just outside of Ataturk.  In the States pedestrians are allowed to meet their dear ones at the baggage carousel, but not here.  After Bruna introduced me to her new friend, we were on our way to the tram, and then on to another tram to arrive at a plaza where sultans have been trying to out design, and out build each other for as long as there have been sultans.

Image

Rukiam and Bruna were lovely.  It had not been my intention to meet anyone in Istanbul, but fortunately there was a need.  In the future I will endeavor to spend my first day in a place that is new to me with one or more people who have learned how to roam and feast and find beauty where a stranger might not see.  Rukiam is the first Kurdish person I have known, Bruna has been known to me since April.  Rukiam has the discoverer’s heart.  She wants to hone her English, learn Arabic, and she sings in Hebrew.  I must have heard her say “Thank you Jesus,” a dozen times or more; a bright, beautiful heart.

Image

The landscape here is one common to coastal cities.  There are low hills like those in San Francisco, Seattle and Split.  Like any great city, there have been endeavors at mass transit which have resulted in a heightened degree of opportunity in the form of access to wealth and culture; the humming thrum of bustle. Vibrancy, tradition, world, motion, vision, community: Istanbul.

Image