Oh my heavens, what an awesome and full four days. We couldn't have packed anything more into them (at least not with three kiddos), and yet the more we saw, did, ate and learned, the MORE we wanted to see, do, eat and learn.
It's a beautiful city with so many beautiful people. I loved watching beautiful families and moments and friendships, I loved seeing all the millions of ways people have worked hard and creative to make the city, the parks, the blocks, the doorsteps beautiful. I loved eating Thai...eating Italian...eating Chinese...eating Haitian...all within a block or two. I loved worshiping at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, I loved leaving one service and seeing the line for the next service weaving around the block, everyone free to worship. I loved hearing a hundred languages, loved seeing the creativity of a thousand architects splayed all over the horizon, loved seeing the so many ways so many people have worked to express helping us remember, to helping us to see things differently, helping us celebrate little things, helping us see lots of beauty, helping us to grow outside of ourselves.
It was awesome, and I could've spent another 3 weeks. I also could've spent another three weeks with Martin, Sharon and Isaac. I loved sharing the girls with them, following them all around the Big City, and I LOVED touring the city with Sharon at the helm...she knows what to do and where to eat and most importantly, how to get there...and NEVER got frazzled, never rushed a stubborn toddling toddler, and even shopped china town with two happy indecisive shopaholics. And Martin and Isaac did way more than their fair share of piggybacks and ice cream runs! I love having the Mishlers as family, and they love us well and have such grace for this family of mine.
|the first Haagen-Daas!|
|Matt was tapping into his roots (and cannoli) in Little Italy|
I confessed on FB the other day how sad and embarrassing it was for me to realize that last week was the first time our girls have EVER been to a library. That felt like a total parenting fail.
But our dear friend Serge reminded me not to be sad, but to simply be grateful--for visiting a library, though it was something I'd been unknowingly privileged to do 100 times by 8 years old, is something many only dream of---something many will NEVER experience, something that for many, will always be utterly impossible.
You'd think I'd remember that.
Philadelphia last week and then New York City this week made me FEEL that grateful. When I saw families, taking their children to the astounding Metropolitan Museum of Art, to see artifacts and art from around the world, some of it thousands of years old, for the fee of "What would you like to pay today?", when we all saw the Statue of Liberty holding out her light, coming around that bend, remembered the stories of the millions at Ellis Island, when I saw and experienced kindness and beauty and remembering...I was really GRATEFUL for the chance to TAKE the girls to the library.
To have our voices heard. To be free to worship God the way we choose. To pursue education for ALL, to pursue jobs and callings and passions and convictions, to have parks and libraries and museums fountains and traffic laws and paved roads and feeding programs and assistance and laws and mailmen and flowers on the road. To have battles in place for injustice, to have HELP, to have some peace, to have liberty.
I'm not saying it's perfect, it's all far from perfect. The girls saw and named more rats this week than we've ever named at home, and I could have easily sought out the ugly, too, I could tell you all about it. It's not all beautiful. I KNOW. There isn't a day our homeland isn't in our prayers, that YOU aren't in our prayers, isn't a day we don't try to be the difference we want to see.
And I am.