Just a couple of weekends ago, we were part of a church trip to NYC.
I love NYC. It’s my favorite American city. I’ve been there numerous times (enough times that I can’t remember how many times now). Each time I go, there’s still something new to see, and there are still new things to take in. And familiar things too, like the skyline.
This time we had our entire family with us. The last time we came to visit the city was almost two years ago. We made a trip to NYC so that we could go to the Finnish consulate to do an interview with Finnish authorities, pay fees, etc. – all so we could receive resident permits so we could live in Finland for a year of exchange studies.
Now we were back in the US, and coming to a city that has accepted people from foreign places for a long time. And the statue has become the symbol of welcome to so many.
Yet we find our country in the midst of tearing itself apart over who it is, what it stands for and if the symbols and principles that have guided us for so long will remain. We have one candidate from this noble city running for office that now only sees the markers of the skyline as just familiar landmarks – devoid of meaning. And many throw themselves down in what is essentially worship of him and what he stands for. It’s rather shameful really.
And yet, I can’t help but think about all the people who came here, by boat, and saw this symbol of freedom and pointed and took a sigh of relief – they came somewhere for a better chance at life. I wonder how many more will have the opportunity to do so in the future. I wonder how many will want to come. I wonder if the thin veneer of civility will hold up. Or will our darker sinful desires bring about our own downfall.
In the meantime, we can point to principles that have guided us. They haven’t been easy, but they have made us who we are.