Friday, April 17, 2009

The Good Friday: A Time to Feel Humble and Grateful

“There is something about coming back home. It looks the same, it feels the same, it smells the same. You realize the only thing that’s changed … is you”.
(approximate quote from “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”).

Walking the streets of my hometown is a surreal feeling: I am waiting to see old friends, and relatives show up around every corner, at the ages I last saw them: about 11 years ago, or so. But I am waiting in vain, of course.

Some buildings look the same, and some bear the mark of time, and of unfunded city hall candidacies, crumbling in pieces. Some of them have been more lucky and have been renovated, having gotten a new coat of paint on the ages they have weathered.

Old or newer, they all carry memories from my past: the movie theater I used to love, the museum we used to visit every January 24th, as a field trip in school (The national holiday of The National Union), the “Palace” that hosted my first public library, where I first learned how you can get lost and lose track of time, when you’re stolen away by book hunting … The churches where members of my family got christened in, got married in, first took communion in…. The restaurant that hosted my parents’ first date …
Memories abound.

The mind is a wonderful tool (when it works), and such a loyal depository of … things. Places bring back to memory people we met, and we knew and people who have affected our upbringing and character: our teachers, school mates, teachers, doctors, grandparents …

To make this journey alongside my sister and her new baby is a gift from God!
Coming back home, opening up the book of live memories alongside my folks and family around Easter , cooking traditional foods together, congregating with them in the kitchen, the true heart of our home, is making me breathless; more than words (in any language) can express.

I am not the same as 11 years ago when I left. My friends, parents and sister are different too. Time has passed over streets, buildings, as well as people; but the heart is just as raw, and hungry for love, and closeness, and just as nostalgic!

Enjoy the pictures, and I hope our smiles and the blue skies we’re fortunate with speak for themselves, and speak about the kind of happiness that we’re feeling blessed with and that abounds around us on this Holy Day, of the Orthodox Good Friday.

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