I was back in New York City recently, and I loved it! I preached at Park Avenue Christian Church, as well as The Riverside Church. (Sold a few books, too!) It was good to see some old friends. It was also good to meet new people. I made it a point to visit some of my favorite places. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (The American Wing is fantastic.) The Museum of Modern Art. (The Cindy Sherman exhibit was thrilling.) I ate at old familiar places too – Pearl Oyster Bar (The lobster rolls are transcendent.) Union Square Café. Quattro Gatti. (Outside on a Saturday night; the weather was perfect.) I even made my way down to Madison Square Park and had lunch at the Shake Shack. (One of the best hamburgers in the world.) Like much of life, some things change and others stay the same. I bet I’ve eaten at Union Square Café a hundred times through the years, but I didn’t know one person on the staff that night. Still good, but not the same. On the other hand, I had dinner at Pearl Oyster Bar and Maria, who has worked there for years, came around and gave me a huge hug. She remembered me. Take a Breath today. Is there an old, familiar place with which you need to reconnect? A place that once meant something to you? Or a place that was at one time important to your spiritual journey? When you reconnect to old places you begin to see that sometimes the place has changed, but more importantly, you realize that you have changed, and what you once valued doesn’t seem as important anymore, and what you once thought was wonderful, well, it isn’t so wonderful. But if you’re lucky, you go to a familiar place and it still possesses the same old magic and wonder.
Take a Breath and consider a line from one of my favorite Beatles’ songs: “There are places I remember / In my life / I’ve loved them all.”