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!"