I was in the city for a conference, three days learning from saints who devote their days (and nights) to addressing the very challenging issue of children, poverty and homelessness. More than 600 people from six countries were gathered, and the experience was, in a word, humbling.
Then on Friday my husband joined me. He loves New York as much as I do, and so we jumped at the chance to meet there before making a quick getaway to the outskirt city of Larchmont for a family weekend.
Our first NYC stop? Pizza at John’s, with my friend and cohort Lila Anna. First, we toasted.
Then we ate pizza. Which is worthy of note because it turned out to be the best pizza ever.
After lunch, LA left for the airport and Tim and I headed for Central Park. There is nothing more fun than strolling Central Park on a brisk January afternoon.
We tried to take a selfie and I got tickled.
Then we cruised on around the park chatting about this and that–but mostly about how remarkable it is that this fabulous space exists in the middle of so much city.
Our meandering circle complete, I suggested we walk over to The Plaza. It was Mom’s favorite spot, I said. And we’re so close.
Of course my sweet husband said yes.
We walked past the uniformed doormen, through the 5th Avenue doors, and immediately I could feel Mom there, her delight at me remembering–and more importantly, appreciating–the beauty of this magnificent hotel. How many years ago had we been here together, an extravagant trip meant to expose us, her small-town children, to something so lovely?
It was not lost on me, I must say, the contrast between my childhood and that of the children I had just spent the week considering. I was fortunate to grow up in a stable home filled with wonderful opportunities. But I’ve learned from my work with St. Lawrence Place that there are thousands in the Midlands of South Carolina, alone, who struggle mightily for the most basic necessities, including a place to live. This instability removes possibility in ways that are devastating. Children who are homeless lag far behind in school and have lower graduation rates than those who face financial challenge (trailing by a rather wide margin). And these are not people of the street, mind you. They are families who cobble together living arrangements week to week, sometimes night to night, surviving under the radar in ways that make them all but invisible.
We cannot overlook these families.
It’s what I believe, and so it is my honor to work with St. Lawrence Place on their behalf.
I had the immense blessing of a happy, stable childhood, as did my three brothers. Our our home was safe and secure.
I am extremely grateful.
And to Posey and Kent, who gave us stability and a view of the world beyond our beloved Spring Street: Thank you, Mom and Dad. It is my prayer that this important work will honor both of you well.
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