Give life and hope into your family, village, community, country, continent and the world at large. – Israelmore Avivor
The last months as I was able to get out more, I realized I was falling in love again with my beloved New York City, my special “home town.” It’s a place of great diversity, delicious food, special music, art, and plenty of grit. People are welcome to NYC no matter what their color or culture or language. New Yorkers seem to want to help strangers. If someone looks like they don’t know where they are, almost immediately they are surrounded by New Yorkers asking if they can be of assistance. I am reminded of Hebrews 13: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
But when I look back at the many places I’ve called “my home town,” I realize that in some way I fell in love with all of them – whether it was Clatonia, Nebraska or Boulder, Colorado or Richmond, Virginia or Anaheim, California or Karachi, Pakistan, I appreciate all of them and feel like each one is my special “home town.” – places where I can go home again.
For example, I remember how I felt when I went back to visit Richmond – a place that was “my home town” for a number of years. In Richmond I had faced a big challenge when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. There my colleagues at Child Fund and members of my church supported and cared for me when I was uncertain if I would live. Looking back, my visit felt as familiar and comfortable as slipping into an old soft shoe. The days passed with laughter and tears and powerful memories, and I felt a sense of gratification that I had “gone home” again.
Now after more than 20 years living in my beloved New York “home town,” I am making a major move to Florida – mainly because of health concerns related to my paraneoplastic syndrome. I confess this change is a bit frightening. But it is a normal part of life which occurs regularly in our lives, our work, our relationships, our physical and spiritual lives. Maybe change makes us feel uneasy because we do not understand that we can choose to respond to change in a positive way and thus experience growth, new life, even fresh hope.
At this time as I move to a new “home town,” I have no idea what life will be like in the future. But I know I need to make good choices because I realize just how vulnerable I am and how precious life really is. So I don’t want to be sloppy with my living; I want to be careful about what I choose to do with my remaining days on earth. I believe that this change to a new “home town” will provide me with opportunities for learning, growth, and deep meaning.
* What are changes or transitions in your life that you are facing?
* How can you turn them into opportunities to live life more fully and meaningfully?
Welcome Holy One to all of our “home towns.” When we are in transition on our journey, help us not to be afraid but rather to realize that you are always there for us, even during major life changes. Thank you for loving us in our times of fear or inhospitable moments. May we learn to be more open to life, to show hospitality to all, and to entertain angels without knowing it. Amen.
As of December 1, 2014, my new home town will be Penney Farms, Florida