September 11, 2015
So this is what jet lag feels like. At home it’s 9:50 pm; here we just had breakfast. I got to see sunrise above Egypt. The horizon was at first a deep, hazy orange that I’d never seen before. Gradually the sky lightened and I could see the rolling desert. One interesting point is that I noticed that even though the sun was above the horizon, the land directly below us was still dark. I mean, I’ve always known that the earth is round, but as with anything, it’s one thing to learn the proof of something, and quite another to actually experience it for yourself.
Throughout my journey, I kept coming back to this moment where I saw the sun rise above Egypt. I never debated that the Earth was spherical (sorry skeptics, but if it was we’d all be stuck to the ground); I just assumed it was general knowledge. But seeing the sun rising in the sky while the land directly below me was still in shadow really struck me. It was like seeing proof with my own eyes for something that I’d only been taught about, but never really experienced. Much of my journey was about experiencing things, places and events that I’d only read or heard about. Whether I was on the roof of the Prophet’s Mosque or the courtyard of the Ka’ba, or seeing the crowd of humankind marching to the same praise or standing on holy ground, my journey was a constant theme of living the experiences I had learned — and, as you’ll see, experiencing the difference between expectations and reality.
There have been times in my life where I’ve noticed a theme or pattern occurring. Times when certain events all seem to be pointing towards a larger purpose. Hajj was no different. And I don’t think it’s just my writer’s obsession with mining life’s happenings in search of deeper meanings. I think that anyone can examine the events of their life and, if they look close enough, see the authorship of God.