So it’s been a busy week and a busier weekend. I spent the weekend on retreat with the Catholic volunteers and was really psyched to have a former volunteer from last year, Christina Tello, stay at our home for the week previous and then together we all attended the volunteer retreat together at the Abbey of the Genessee.

It’s amazing how someone can pop back into your life and you just pick up as if they were never gone. Christina’s presence in my home brightened it much and kept me mostly calm during a hectic week where there was much to accomplish in a pressure cooker of deadlines. I was a bit of a grump at times because of it and she was gracious enough to not let my dour demeanor ruin her visit.

We had lots of laughs. I even used a secret line in my reflection this week

Christina (right) with her former housemates, Gloria and Rachel
just for her from a popular you tube video. My wife, Marion and Christina are very close and I am glad that I was able to get to know her and include her in my life as well.

Often people ask me what the biggest difference is between New York and Buffalo. They often expect my answer to be about snow (New York and other east coast cities have had more snow since I’ve moved Westward), or a slower pace (true, I can’t find a late night Korean deli anywhere). But in truth, the biggest difference is that people entertain in their homes much more than I have been used to. We also are able to have house guests now as our home is spacious enough for an additional person.

Christina was the perfect houseguest. I could have had her stay for weeks, I’m sure and I was sad to see her go. As I watched her get on her train this morning, I turned to see the brilliant Buffalo sunrise, one of the most beautiful, I’ve seen in awhile and I felt gratitude for its mere presence.

Just like Christina.

One of my favorite lines of scripture is the story of the Transfiguration in Luke’s gospel. Jesus becomes dazzling white and Peter says:

“‘Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ But he did not know what he was saying.” (Luke 9:33)

No words can capture the change that many of the Catholic Charities Volunteers have made in me. Christina has made me more sensitive to the needs of others. Her and her housemates last year inspired me to eat a bit healthier and more mindfully of others in that process. She has transfigured me more than I can say. And I am better for it.

So I do not miss Christina, for she is always a part of who I am. Someone who has marked me, made me and my marriage a bit better. Perhaps is is better stated that I did not miss Christina, for her presence has been one that has captured me for good, created in me a new heart that is more open to love others and has made me love just a bit more than I think I can.

Thanks, friend for not letting me miss you…and now I wait for you to come again and shine more light into my life.

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