New York shares something in common with India and several other places I can think of. Anything you can say or think about New York is true somewhere within its five boroughs. Good, bad, crazy, inspiring, and confusing are true somewhere. If you are willing to let the city touch you, and at times when you are not, amazing, simple, new, old, and complex will be found in every day’s experience.
In my return to a city I love after an extended absence I found myself immersed in New York. Rediscovering the energy, innovative thinking, and great food in the city was just part of the process. What I had easily forgotten is that New York cannot be understood by news headlines, sound bites, or video clips. It is not a city that fits within a mold. At its heart is an attitude defined by the people that call it home. New York’s citizens are what make New York different.
It is a reminder that I would do well to carry with me. Every community is, at its heart, a reflection of those that call it home. In each community, we, not they, define it. The decision is pivotal. When we let others define what we are, we begin the process of releasing the core of what makes our community unique. In the step, we can lose our freedom, our ability to make a difference, and even what defines us. The warnings against this have been around for generations. Quoting an old wisdom father, “I don’t want you to become part of something that reduces you to less than yourself.” (1 Corinthians 10.20)
It is good to be back. I am enjoying the bagels, artistic expressions, and the smiles on faces I have not seen in a long time. I am filled with new hope. You and I have the ability to make a difference in our community. We can reach for more than what we have. We are in a battle. At times life overwhelms, but the fight is not over! Life is for living.