Olive trees are in abundance in Holy Land but what I wanted to see, touch, hug and take a leafy twig is the olive tree where Jesus prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane. I am pretty sure everyone that visits this garden has the same idea as me. If we ever touch, hug and take a twig from the olive tree, we would have loved the tree to death.
An iron gate enclosed the trees to keep them safe and unreachable from the public. It is a very soulful place to imagine what happened during Jesus’ time. I don’t believe that these are the same trees but according to scientific evidence, these trees are about a 1,000 years old. Jesus’ time was about 2,000 year ago.
When we visited the garden, pruning of the trees was happening to encourage new growth. There were plenty of cuttings on the ground. I approached the gardeners if I could have a twig. One lady waved her finger indicating no. It was rather absurd that I can’t have a twig when the cuttings may be thrown away.
I stood by the fence for the longest time watching them prune and longing for an olive branch. Then one of the gardeners came towards me and gave me a leafy twig. Bless her heart.
I walked away filled with gratitude and to catch up with the group that are already in the Church of All Nations.
The Church is reserved for an hour for us to spend time by the rock where Jesus wept and perspired blood. It is a holy hour of quiet meditation, prayer and thanksgiving. In thanksgiving for having the olive leaves, I placed it on the rock. These leaves will be a symbol that I have something original and not bought from the market place. A holy souvenir that I’m proud to take home with me.
One hour went by so fast when I was in deep meditation. The effect of being silent is rejuvenating as if I my inner garden has been worked on.
What happened next is unthinkable when I picked up the leafy twig, plucked one leaf at a time, gave them to my co-pilgrims and said peace be with you.
What made me do this? I took the courage and the trouble to get the olive twig only to give them away. I did not see this coming.
I was left with a leafless twig. I kept the twig for the longest time and carried it with me in my purse only to give that away as well.
The strangest part is I was happy to give them away.