"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


The Day I Saw Barack Obama.

So today sucked. Sucked. I had to work today. My train came in time, but then we all had to get off for who knows what reason. We waited 30 more minutes, and then squished ourselves onto a very crowded train. I got to work 10 minutes late and opened up. The wave of people expecting me to social work for them came in, but I said 'Oh wait. I've got to go make lunch," making good use of my graduate degree. I made a tasty tuna salad, complete with the most pungent onion known to man. Was berated by a staff person for another program, because people drank 2 cups of the coffee that she had put out in the cafeteria for people to drink two hours later. Was told that no one wanted my tuna sandwiches. Cleaned up after lunch, and went back to the office. Continued my streak of stopping people from using racial slurs when responding to their internal dialogues. Helped someone make some copies. Closed the place down. Did some work that should've been done yesterday by someone else. Walked back to the train to find that it wasn't running in my direction, so I took a ride uptown to run some errands, hoping that I could get to a stop that my train would be running from. I bought some stuff and went down to the subway, found that my train was not running there either. Got off the train and walked up the block to get a burrito. Had a mediocre, expensive burrito, and then I walked up 6th Avenue again hoping to find a way to get home. As I walked up the block a crowd had begun to gather, and traffic had been blocked off for all of 6th Avenue.

I, very unlike myself, stopped to observe and see if I could figure it out. And then I noticed the clear blue sky. And then a police helicopter. Then 50 or so cops go by on motorcycles. And then some dark cars with dark tinted windows just light enough to see the faces of the people inside. The people in front of me said, "He must be in the second car." I look up and see in the second car a very familiar face. "What?!?!" I said loudly in my head. "That's Barack Obama." And then he was gone. The scene on the street afterward is my favorite part. We all stood there for a moment and then started slowly walking up the block again, but our smiles are wider, our hearts are lighter. Some people have yet to be able to move, but stand there hand on chest in besotted sigh. Others call their friends, their moms. "Mama! I just saw Barack!" It was like a cross between those pictures of the screaming girls at Beatles' concerts and the "We Got Annie!" scene in Annie. I'm gonna call it We Got Barack. Holy cow! Those 30-seconds are so worth the crappy 8 hours that preceded them.


Mapped Out.

I have a running map in my head of New York City. It is the subway system of mid-town Manhattan, as I learned entirely too much of it in my year of temphood. It is all of the best and cleanest public restrooms in Manhattan. It is the inner recesses of Brooklyn from my home visiting internship. It is the homes of my friends in Manhattan who were the first friends I had in the City, and who are some of the only people who can get me to come above 34th Street. And it is the neighborhoods of Brooklyn where I have lived since I’ve been here, and where many of my friends have made their homes.

The Bergen Street stop in Brooklyn has always been one of my favorite stops. It is where CCfB met for the first year, and meets now. It is where the G and F lines meet, so Nathan and I used have outdoor summer dinners there before he moved to Queens, before he moved back home. And it is where you got off to go to the home of my dear friends, Joe and Laura Hays. Their apartment has always been what I wanted to my home to be. An inviting space that is often filled with good food and lots of friends, and that is subsequently the backdrop for lots and lots of wonderful memories. Thanksgivings and Christmases, Easters and birthdays, random nights when people come together for no particular reason other than to enjoy each other’s company. Countless trips to hang out with their daughter, my six year-old friend Sophia. The F-line is the one near my home, so I passed by their stop each morning on my way to work, and have a distinct memory of riding by on the day they finally got to bring their son, Ira, home from the hospital, realizing that their family was finally complete. And today, as I rolled by, I remembered that today was the day they would be leaving for St. Louis.

Joe and Laura are the founding pastors of my church, Christ's Church for Brooklyn, and have always encouraged each of us to be fully ourselves, and to allow God to love us as we wholly are, and thus to allow others to love us in this way too. We will miss them so, so much as we carry on without them, knowing this is the most important thing, as Sophia always tells us, "To Love God and Love Others!"


AIDS Walk New York.

It's AIDS Walk time again. This weekend about 40,000 New Yorkers will lace up their shoes and make the walk through Central Park in support of people living with HIV and AIDS. To support research and prevention efforts, and efforts to provide services to those living in the five boroughs who are infected with or affected by HIV. Click here to join our team, or to donate to the cause. Step Up. Stop AIDS.