Avishai came home for his 4-day weekend. His group rotates with 2 other groups, so he comes home now every third weekend. The group left Gaza yesterday morning early, which was lucky, because mid-morning the army closed off Gaza, trying to keep right-wing protesters and anti-disengagement activists away, and all leaves were cancelled. But Avishai is home now, and unless an emergency calls him back, he will have a chance to relax for a bit.
Listening to his stories and explanations of events and his job there is facinating -- it would be a lot more facinating if my hebrew was up to the task, so a lot of times I nod as though I understand, but miss a lot of what he's saying. I also get a lot of information by just listening to him talk to his friends who come here, or to the other kids. While he tells me the rough outline of his life in the army, and the main points, most of what I know about "little incidents" and the behind-the-scenes descriptions of his day-to-day life comes from just listening to his other conversations. This has never been as apparent as during this past furlough. When Avishai came home, we spoke for about an hour, as he told me the rough outline of his present life, and I asked questions about what he is doing day-to-day. But periodically, throughout the evening, something would remind him about something that's happening, or he'd get a phone call from one of his army buddies who is at the base now, or suddenly he'd remember an incident that he would share with us, and little by little, we're gaining a better understanding of his present life. As he sums it up, it's a bit scary, but VERY INTERESTING.
In sum, he'll be doing a bit of everything that he's learned over the past 7 months. The groups rotate, week by week -- one week doing guard duty in little "pillboxes" that straddle the Rafiah border, one week doing armoured jeep rounds, one week checking people at the border crossings, etc. There are about 7 different tasks that they take turns at, so it never becomes too boring.
We also spoke a bit about the boy who died this week from Tzfat -- Avishai knew the young boy who drowned. While Avishai's army service is by no means safe, the drowning showed us all, again, that one can never be complacient or know when something is "safe" and "dangerous". The boy just went off for a day to the beach with his friends, and never came back...who would have ever thought that his death would come BEFORE his army service? We all have to do our utmost to insure our safety and well-being, but ultimately, it's not up to us, and in my morning prayers, I've never been as aware as I am now, after 3 young boys have been killed in freak accidents recently in Tzfat in recent months, that I have only Partner #3 in raising my children to rely on for their ultimate health and safety.
It's funny that now, when my life is in such transition and uncertainty, that my faith and strength in my beliefs has grown so much. Things that I used to take for granted....health, safety, a basic standard of living...I no longer take for granted, and am more aware than ever of how much I have and how happy I am. I hope that my behavior and actions will always justify what I have been given.