August 29, 2012 by Ilene H. Lang
A few years back, editors of the New York Times asked their staff a simple question: What did you do this summer? The responses were interesting, revealing, funny and poignant.
As this summer draws to close, I decided to ask my staff the same thing. The responses that filled my inbox were just as honest and heartfelt as those featured in the Times. Yet one summer story does stand out for its tragic start and hopeful ending. Below is a moving account by Jennette, a star in our Information Technology Department. Please visit Catalyzing next week for additional tales from this summer.
This summer taught me to be very grateful for life. To live in the now, to love more, to be grateful for life and health, never put off anything for tomorrow, and to celebrate the individuality and uniqueness of myself and everyone with JOY!
Upon leaving home for work around 7:30 in the morning on July 26 and saying goodbye to my beloved pet of 14 years, Frankie, I never imagined it would be the last time seeing my cat and apartment. That I would be homeless in a matter of hours, along with 116 other families, due to a lighting strike during a brief storm that struck my apartment building in Brooklyn around 10 am.
Fast forward to mid-August 2012, I have been the recipient of and witness to so many expressions of love, kindness, and generosity from colleagues at work, church, family, friends, neighbors, and strangers near and far. Today I am totally experiencing a new life, full of realities before unknown, adventurous, funny, surprising, and wonderful as each day unfolds more beauty, grandeur, and order. Instead of going into a closet to get clothing, I get to go shopping and instead of cooking, I eat out or better still get a scrumptious lunch prepared or bought by a work colleague delivered daily via a meal train started at my workplace by a dear coworker.
In retrospect, this is the best summer I have ever had and will cherish every moment. I’ll never forget all the people who have touched and impacted my life by expressing their love, compassion, and tender care to me and all the other families in so many wonderful and beautiful ways. I’m humbly and eternally grateful to all.
Much love, :-) Jennette
P.S.: Still looking for an apartment to call home but for now living in a Holiday Inn Express in Brooklyn, and enjoying the king-sized bed and Jacuzzi tub after a day’s work.