So….normally when you check on this page, you hear my voice/thoughts. Occasionally, Ed has shared (like 2 times in the last how many years? clearly I am the person who writes in our family 🙂 ), but today, I asked my friend and co-worker Amy to share. She is a great writer and I think you will be an encouraged as I was in reading her post. Here goes…
So, besides those papers in college and the occasional Facebook post that might read like a blog post due to length, I’ve never written a blog post before. April asked if I might want to share something on her blog and I accepted the challenge.
Hi, I’m Amy! I am a mom of 3, been married to my husband for just over 10 years and we (like the Hetzel family) moved across the country from Texas to New York City (specifically the borough of Queens) just a little over 18 months ago.
As I go about my daily life here, my new normal, I often think that life here is very different than what people think my life is like. What I, too, thought life was like in NYC before we lived here. Don’t get me wrong, I♥NY! There are the times when I am driving down the Blvd and get a glimpse of the Manhattan skyline or I’m going about my day and look up and see an iconic building that as a teenager I dreamed of one day visiting. Yes, there are days where I think, “Wow, I can’t believe I live here!”
But that is not the NYC I experience daily. Before we moved here, we heard someone refer to NYC as the home of the influencer and the immigrant. And that is very true! The world looks to NYC in many ways as a trendsetter: in finance, fashion, media and so many other areas. It is also the home of many immigrants. According to nyc.gov, ‘over 3 million of New York City’s residents are foreign-born; over a quarter arrived in 2000 or later.’ And in Queens, almost half the residents here are foreign born. If the borough of Queens were it’s own city, it would be the most diverse city in the world!
I resonate most with NYC being the home of the immigrant. Our life and ministry here is more connected to the immigrant. For the most part, it is the child of the immigrant. Our children’s friends, the college students we minister to, the owners of all our local bodegas, restaurants, pharmacies, nail salons, even our beloved 7-Eleven. I study the Bible with a group of women. In that group of 7 women I am the only one who has not had to navigate the process of obtaining a Visa, Green Card and/or becoming a Citizen of the United States. The world truly does live here! I don’t just cross paths with, but share daily life with people from different countries and religions. I love the diversity of NYC, especially Queens. Not to mention that eating out is almost always a new adventure in ethnic cuisine.
This print above hangs on the wall in my living room. I hung it there for a few reasons. We left a life, friends, house and community that we loved, to move in NYC. It has been hard. I still don’t look like I ‘fit’ here, even 18 months later. I consistently get remarks of, ‘wow, you have your hands full’ regarding my 3 young (and close in age) kids, a rarity in NYC. Sometimes a friendly smile or kind word I might give is met with skepticism or annoyance. This is not the type of environment I was raised in or grew in. This is not my home. But ‘back home’ is not my home either. This hangs on my wall mostly to remind me that my true home is with God. As Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 5: 1-5 (NIRV):
“We know that the earthly tent we live in will be destroyed. But we have a building made by God. It is a house in heaven that lasts forever. Human hands did not build it. 2 During our time on earth we groan. We long to put on our house in heaven as if it were clothing. 3 Then we will not be naked. 4 While we live in this tent of ours, we groan under our heavy load. We don’t want to be naked. Instead, we want to be fully dressed with our house in heaven. What must die will be swallowed up by life. 5 God has formed us for that very purpose. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment. The Spirit makes us sure of what is still to come.”
Living here reminds me of this truth in a way that no other place in my life has, and for that I am deeply thankful to live here! I feel God using me in significant ways here. Even though people don’t know it, they see Christ in me. I can tell they see it and I have a profound opportunity to bless people!