Home and heart

One morning I was looking over a couple of items that had just arrived in the mail. I was particularly struck by the contrasts they presented. The first item was an issue of National Geographic magazine, with a pictorial essay of small-town life in America. The sensitive collection of black-and-white photographs helped to give a tangible feeling of what it must have been like to live in rural midwestern communities starting around 1950.

As the essay ranged over a span of the next thirty-five years, there were obviously some changes that took place. Yet all through the photographs, from each decade, you could sense a tranquillity and a kind of homespun happiness. There were the farms, the horses, the one-window post office, the corner store with its soda fountain, the men sitting on a park bench. And there were the families. Kids having a hoedown in the backyard; a husband and wife still shoeing horses out in the barn after sixty years of marriage. From the pictures, it really felt that home is where the heart is.

The other item in the mail, however, was not so happy. It was a call for help sent out by a shelter for homeless children in New York City. The letter began with a story of the "lady," as she called herself, who had come by one day simply wanting to get clean. The "lady" was eleven years old, hugging to her side two smaller brothers. The letter went on with other similar accounts. In the coming year, this one shelter alone estimates that 25,000 homeless youngsters will arrive at its doors.

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Aaron learns about listening
June 26, 1989

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