Carol Reid of Myers Park Baptist visits the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem
Red Sea! Red Sea! Ellen Martin of Temple Beth El announced as she pushed the wheelchair holding Carol Reid.
On cue, the Charlotte group parted, making a path for Ellen to forge ahead so that Carol could have a front row seat.
A retired teacher of gifted students at CMS, Carol, 60, suffers from a malformation of the cartilage and had expected to sit on the sidelines during some of the trip.
Instead, her fellow travelers made sure she was always close to the center of things.
Paula Fricke, Carols lifelong friend, expected to do all of the wheelchair pushing. But others pitched in.
By the end of the trip, almost everybody had taken a turn or two a sign to Carol that they were all looking out for each other.
But when the Charlotte pilgrims got to Jerusalem, and started walking the steep hill up the Mount of Olives, Carol decided to make the trek on foot.
With cane in hand and a floppy hat to guard against the sun, Carol 4-foot-10 and a recipient of two knee replacements and four hip replacements started the climb.
She knew it would be a challenge. Its a tough walk for anybody. But she was determined to make it to the top with its panoramic view of the Old City as a way of paying homage to all the pilgrims that had preceded her, including Jews and Christians from her own family.
On the way up, she also thought of her late father, a Presbyterian minister. He never made it to the Holy Land, but he would have loved to walk in this place where Jesus preached to his disciples before his arrest on Good Friday.
In time, Carol made it to the top. And she knew she would always remember the sight.
On the slope just ahead, she saw the 3,000-year-old Jewish cemetery with 150,000 graves a testament to the Book of Zechariahs claim that this is where God will redeem the dead when the Messiah returns on Judgment Day. There were also the ancient walls of Jerusalem and, in the distance, the golden Dome of the Rock.
A true mountaintop experience, Carol told herself as she relished the moment.
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