Hezhan spent the golden afternoon hours of today at the Har Hatsofim campus of Hebrew University, a modern academic institution with a vintage feel spread out over the north slopes of the Mount of Olives. After a morning trip to the hospital in Tel Aviv confirmed that pain in his knee joints was nothing to fear and unrelated to his heart, Hezhan boarded the Egged no. 19 bus with Kristina and myself, and up we climbed to the university where I take classes.
After passing the security check, where guards met Hezhanâ€™s disarming smile, we climbed the escalator from the bus terminal to the main level, and Kristina thought it like entering a spaceship with a honeycomb underside.
Leaving the cold concrete of man for the warmth of earthâ€™s garden, all of a sudden, there he was: my dear old favorite man in the world, Mr. Albert Einstein, riding his bicycle! Hezhan and I accosted him, and he was nice enough to pose with us. In actual fact, Einstein gave the inaugural academic lecture at the Hebrew University and was a founding member of its first board of directors. At his death Einstein bequeathed all of his letters and scientific papers to the university, along with official rights to his â€œimage.â€
At a university, the first stop must be the library. One of my motives in bringing Hezhan to the university was to expose this 22-year old â€“ who has only had limited schooling due to a life controlled by a weak heart â€“ to expose him to the possibility and beauty of education. Education is a spark for so much, I believe, and at the moment where Hezhan finds beating in his chest a new spark of life, I believe his future is opening before him and education should be a part of it.
But the students in the library were sleeping! It is finals week at Hebrew University, and the main library has a side room stocked with beanbag chairs and futons for exam-weary students to sack out and get some REMâ€™s before facing their next blue book. Hezhan chuckled at the sight, along with Kristina and I.
Exiting the library, we began to traverse the long spine of campus, ribbed with flower beds and heavy-branched trees. Hezhan stopped and smiled at the building you are seeing in the picture, wrapped in a green blanket of ivy.
We made it to my department, the Rothberg International School. The departmentâ€™s building is right along the edge of campus, and a 5-story cascade of glass provides National-Geographic-esque views of the West Bank and Judean Wilderness. Here in the 5th floor, Kristina and Hezhan smile.
On the other end of campus, heading back now towards the bus terminal, we found an overlook of the Holy City. In the year 63 AD, the Roman General Titus looked on Jerusalem from this same vantage, considering and brooding and strategizing, the might of Rome pitched behind him in tents. Hezhan turned back towards me briefly.
Camera in hand, we three friends began goofing around, snapping shots. Believe me folks, this is by far the sanest of the batch :)
After the hilarity grew thin, all three of us staked out a spot some feet from each other on the wall overlooking the city, and maybe spent ten minutes in quietness, enjoying the warm touches of evening breeze on our faces, thinking on things simple or not so simple, ruminating in the presence of the resplendent. Hezhan stood looking out on Jerusalem â€“ Al Quds, as it is called in Arabic.
The thoughts going through his head I donâ€™t know. He will likely travel home to Kurdistan this weekend. What are his thoughts about his future life? How has the meaning of Jerusalem formed in his mind? Is he still afraid? Is he grateful? Can he believe what is happening? Where does he go from here? What does life mean to a person so intimately acquainted with the possibility of death?
In my experience living in the city of truth (which is another way of saying the city of awesome mysteries), unanswered questions take on a beauty of their own. Iâ€™m sure Hezhan has questions yet littered and lingering with interrogative signs. I do too. So do you. Who doesnâ€™t? But I believe this moment looking over Jerusalem captured something meaningful for Hezhan, something elemental, and beautiful, and maybe culminating, although I wouldnâ€™t dare say what.
As a 23-year old, I have found in Hezhan a brother and friend. We go for walks in the evening, to help strengthen his cardiovascular system. Kristina usually brings her Kurdish skills and smile along. The three of us form a little trio these last couple weeks around Jerusalem, not so much as nurse and patient and student, but as friends, seeking God in our own ways, and seeing clues of him in each other.
Jeff includes this report from the morning at the hospital:
Hezhan, along with his mum, were taken to the Wolfson hospital this morning. The pain in both his knees was controlled overnight and the early hours of this morning with analgesia and liniment (a liquid preparation that provides heat and pain relief). Mother and son were concerned the persistent pain was in some way connected to his recently operated heart. My colleague Kristina and I felt otherwise. We believed that the symptoms were the result of muscles, ligaments and tendons responding to the mobilization routine of walking and light exercise.
The decision to go to the hospital was made, because  The pain was recurring.  We had nothing more to offer.  I felt that the patient's confidence towards the nursing team was waning.  We've both been trained to know when a doctor needs to be consulted.  We could have overlooked something of importance that could be picked up by an expert in this field.
The initial examination by the pediatric ward doctor found no hidden concerns. The Orthopedic doctor was included in this thorough investigation. He also was of the opinion that the pain was a normal response by structures of the knee, which had not been exercised before, to increased mobilization. He prescribed Brufen a non steroidal anti inflammatory, and to keep up the walking.
I was able to use Ilan our Kurdish translator, to speak with the doctor and then convey her findings to Hezhan and his mother. They were most relieved and their fears set at rest. Kristina and I were just as relieved and we quietly thanked our Father for His guidance and help.