It’s moving time. Recently, I finished my “First Studies” as a Jesuit at the lovely Fordham University in New York City. And now I am in the process of starting a new assignment at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. Having spent almost 3 years in NYC, I am feeling a bit nostalgic. Thus, I have been going through one of my favorite Gotham pastimes — the New York Times’s “Metropolitan Diary.”
Printed in the Monday edition, but published regularly on-line, too, Metropolitan Diary is a collection of submissions from readers living in, or having an experience of, the City. It is an amazing collection that reminds me how beautiful life is. You can find the silliness of an afternoon window concert, or helping a stranger learn to play the guitar. Sometimes you can be struck by how large and anonymous the City really can be, and maybe it makes you want to run away. But, then, you remember the simple joys of Central Park or that there are good people in the world. Or, at least there’s always a celebrity or two around to keep it interesting!
The small little moments like this are what make any city — any place, really — become communities. We are reminded of the connections we have with our neighbors and friends and families. And they can remind us that life really is beautiful. And even something as simple as a food cart can bring us a smile,:
On the side panel just below the container filled with pink-and-blue packets of processed sugar was a sign that read, “Take a Smile (They’re free),” with smiley-faced slips of paper to take. Next to it read another sign, “Take What You Need,” with slips of paper for “Passion, Courage, Strength, Motivation, Forgiveness” — other options were apparently already taken. Coincidentally, I had no pocket change and decided to take a smiley face.
“I feel it’s my role to bring hope to people,” said the soft-spoken merchant when I asked him why he put up the signs.
If only we all had such roles.