Thursday, February 10, 2011


This word was in my head off and on all day today.

When I went to bed last night, it was raining that frigid rain again, but when I got up this morning, the air had warmed up and the clouds were breaking up. I was looking forward to some sunshine today. While walking to school, I got what I had been wishing for, although I noticed that the mountains in the distance were still socked in by clouds. About 30 minutes later, it was raining again -- big, fat drops pinged against the windows of the classroom in a random rhythm. The mountains had shaken off the gray clouds, and they had moved into the village. I noticed that they were fast-moving, loosely adherent clouds -- the kind that tell you that the weather is going to change constantly all day long. That was the first time the word "instability" popped into my head. As the weather held its promise, changing throughout the day from rain to sun to cloudy to warm then cold with hail to more rain, I kept thinking about that word.

The instability of the weather got me thinking about the situation in Egypt -- I'm not sure how my mind went from the weather to Cairo, but it did. (It was while I was running in the rain/no rain/hail/rain, and my mind often moves in random ways when I'm running.) I have been following the uprisings online since I can't understand a lot of what the Georgian news reporters say about it.

When the fighting first broke out, I wasn't sure how I felt about having been in the very place where the worst of the conflict was taking place only the week before. Seeing Tahrir Square packed with demonstrators, police, tanks, barricades and fires was one of the most surreal experiences I have felt. I stood there with my mouth agape, at a loss for words when I saw the news. It was like I was watching television -- I know that I was in reality, but I mean metaphorically -- it felt unreal. How could that really be the same place I had just walked the week before? How could a huge uprising have gathered so much momentum in only a week? Had it been stirring while we were there? It must have been. How did we not sense it? We went to the Egyptian Musuem that sits on one side of the square. We "Froggered" our way across those very lanes of traffic. We undoubtedly walked past and maybe talked to some of those very men now gathered in the rioting throng. I wonder if the two men who tried to get us to fall for the oldest trick in the Cairo-scam-a-tourist book are on the anti-goverment or pro-goverment side? (Since they tried slyly leading us to the "Government Bazaar," my guess is pro.)

Now as I reflect on the time that we spent there in light of the present situation, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for our safety. There are no coincidences in life, and I am thankful to God for the peace (well, as peaceful as Cairo ever can be) that still ruled while we were there, at least on the surface. I know that there has been unrest in Egypt for a long time -- that instability that I've been thinking about -- it seems that the storm clouds of conflict have settled over Egypt in the present political climate of instability. They must have been gathering just off the Nile while James, Katherine, and I flew to safety. And we didn't even know it.

Weird. I still don't know exactly how to feel about it -- thankful? yes. grateful? yes. humble? yes. blessed? most, certainly.

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