Tonight, we moved furniture before the State of the Union speech. My pink table, a Formica, chrome-edged find from the 50s, is now behind the sofa. The newly finished, 33-year-old Amish-built table glows in the dining area, next to a bookcase holding my mother’s menorah.

A print made by a friend and mentor hangs above a large bowl crafted by another friend and moral touchstone.

The fireplace’s mantel has antique piggy banks, a bust of Apollo, a Hamsa from Israel, a vase from Japan, and cut-out handprints from a one-year-old.

There’s food in the fridge, and I only have to walk over to the thermostat to keep us warm.

The cat weaves between my legs, meowing her approval.

I have so much. None of it really matches, but it all works together. 

My life is an amalgam of many influences. I tear up over its abundance. 

In the 1970s, my family immigrated to the US, for many reasons. It was not a smooth transition for any of us—we were ungraceful and unsure. My parents applied for citizenship and worked hard in this country. At eighteen, I applied for citizenship to ensure a place at university.

After the speech, I sat at a table, talking with a friend about my dislike of what is going on in this country right now. She asked why I stay in the US. I said I had made a pledge to the US when I accepted American citizenship. In taking that step, I know my responsibility is to make it the best country I can. Not to cut and run when things aren’t as I like them.

Please look around your country during this time of transition. See what you like as it stands, what can be salvaged, and what can be refinished. We are ungraceful and unsure, but we have so much.

(Image by Shawn at

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