lancaster skylineHaving a bit of time to reflect on my life, my time in Lancaster, the past the present and the future.  The combination of another murder in town, the horrific news of an attack on a school in Pakistan and then us getting voted in the top 10 of another few national lists has me thinking.

I have been coming back and forth to Lancaster for 8 years, every year spending a little more time, every year, every month, every week and every day setting more and more roots down.

This year I sold my interests in ARA Construction Corp. that I have owned for 20 years, making Tellus360 my only work interest. I have also bought my partners out of Tellus360 and became the sole owner.

I listed my home in Annapolis for sale. When sold it will end 17 years of life owning a home in Maryland.  I bought a house this summer on West Walnut that I absolutely love!

I came to America in 1988, have lived in Erie, New York City, Broadneck, and Annapolis before coming to Lancaster.  In the 26 years I have been here I have never really settled until I found Lancaster.

I have lived in these other places, I have owned houses but I have never made a home.  I have never given up more than I wanted to, enough to be involved on the edges but not enough to be truly invested, to hurt when things go bad, to care on that very human level.

I don’t know why Lancaster grabbed me, why I decided this was the place to call home.  Maybe it was Central Market and all the great conversations, maybe it was the people who care so much, maybe it was the European architecture, and maybe it was the Mayor walking around with his bow tie living right here.

I really don’t know how Lancaster captured my heart but I do know the house I bought this year is already more a home than any I have ever lived in.  I know that Tellus360 is more an expression of who I am and who I aspire to be than anything else I have done in my life.

So when I hear of shootings in town it begins to feel like I have been shot.  When I hear of violence and death it feels like a little bit of me has been killed also, and when I hear of us being voted the best this or the best that it feels that I own a little of that too.

When I see Lancaster being tolerant of all I feel like I am being tolerant.  When I see Lancaster being open-minded I feel I am being open-minded, when Lancaster is being generous I am generous.

When John Donne wrote the poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls” he wrote the following lines:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

We are in this together, rich and poor, black and white, men and women, adults and children, Arabs, catholics, Mennonites and Buddhists.  When one of us is hurt we are all hurt, when any of us succeed we all succeed.  When the bell tolls, it tolls for me for each mans death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind.

On December 27, Lancaster Unity is going to have a Community Peace Walk.  A chance to join as a community and promote peace, a chance to love each other, to love Lancaster inclusively.  Every one of us because we are in this together and together we will succeed. We will all be joining together and walking downtown–together–starting at 1 p.m, to share love and support, as opposed to violence and fear. Afterwards, all are invited back to Tellus360 for some appetizers and a chance to get to know one another and spend some time in community. No agenda. Just a community gathering for the sake of community.

Thank you Martha, Melissa, Noah, Evan and all of Lancaster Unity for giving us this opportunity to come together, to heal and to show our love for each other, our city and our world.  Thank you all for allowing me to put my roots down, I am extremely grateful to have you all in my life.

I believe the love, hope and dreams of the beautiful people of Lancaster will serve as a shining light in our world for years to come.