As I was driving into work this morning, I had a very intense, very realistic flashback. I was so entranced in this vision, this reenactment of a past time, that before I knew it I was just an exit away from where I usually get off the highway. I guess while driving isn't exactly the best time to have such a lifelike flashback, but lately, my dreams and reality are getting completely mixed up. I find myself unsure of whether something actually happened, or if it was just a dream.
Today's flashback was of getting off the airplane at JFK at the end my Birthright trip to Israel. Actually, it was first being on the plane. Feeling so exhausted, mentally and physically, that I felt almost drugged. Everyone around me was dozing in and out of sleep, and I found myself not being able to keep my eyes open for very long at all. I found time to write down some thoughts and share those with Rachel and Jeanine, but we all didn't speak that much throughout the long plane ride. So many days running on three-hour-of-sleep nights was finally catching up to us. So many days of learning, of exploring, of overcoming fears. So many days of melting in the desert heat. So many days of epiphanies; of life-changing moments. Finally weighing down on us.
Then my flashback jumped to walking through the airport after getting our luggage; our luggage that had taken this journey with us, thrown around, squished into buses and carrying just some of our memories. I saw everyone's parents and relatives waiting for us to meet them. Most of them knew we were changed from this trip; others were completely unaware. My mother ducked under the flimsy barrier to hug me as tight as could be. She couldn't wait to grab hold of me, knowing I was safe, knowing I had a million stories to tell. Not knowing I would be unable to fully explain what this journey was for quite a long time, if ever.
I think we were all in shock. We went our separate ways, not knowing how to end this trip, not knowing how to say goodbye. We had experienced so much together in such a short period of time, and now it was all over. I hugged my friends, old and new, and walked away. I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. I didn't know when I'd see these people again - if I'd see these people again. I didn't know if it would ever be the same. And I certainly didn't know if I'd ever be the same.
Now, it's over a year later, and I'm still unsure. I'm flashing back to those memories quite often - not wanting to forget them, but not exactly sure what to do with them either.
4 days ago