I’ve posted about this a little on social media, but thought I’d take a moment to make it official.
In a few weeks, The Deacon’s Bench will be perched under a palm tree, and I’ll be scanning the skies for hurricane warnings.
After 37 years in New York City — and 25 of those years in our big apartment in Forest Hills, as parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs — The Deacon’s Wife and I are relocating to Florida (or, as some like to call it, Heaven’s Waiting Room.) We’ve thought about this a long time — for decades, really — and now that I’m retired (or at least not employed full time) it seemed the perfect chance to make this move.
It took us nine months to finally sell our apartment, but in a couple weeks it will belong to a nice family from Israel. We will be renting an Airbnb for a few months outside Orlando while we search for the perfect Forever Home. Most of our furniture and belongings will be in storage on Long Island while we get oriented. Life, I know, is about to change.
Which brings me to toothpaste.
Ah, toothpaste. I look forward to being able to buy toothpaste again, without asking an armed guard or store manager to unlock the plastic case so I can grab a tube of Crest. I won’t miss that. Or the car alarms. Or the guys peeing on the sidewalk outside the deli.
But what will I miss? My parish. A lot. It will be hard to say goodbye. I will miss the people I served and the priests I served beside. (For those who have asked: I will not be getting incardinated in Orlando. I plan to remain a deacon of the Diocese of Brooklyn, but with faculties to minister elsewhere.)
And I’ll miss the good things I love about our neighborhood. I will miss being able to walk to the corner to buy a quart of milk, and then stopping at the bakery next door for a big, fat, chewy, doughy bagel. I’ll miss being able to walk to church, and passing people on the street who wave and say, “Good morning, deacon.” I’ll miss that sense of community.
Some things won’t change. I will continue doing more missions and retreats — and I anticipate doing more in the southern corners of the country, and that will be exciting and fun. I’ll still be contributing regular scripture reflections for OSV News, and I have a book or two waiting to be written (and editors looking at the calendar and tapping their feet impatiently.) I won’t be idle. Oh: and I’m leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land next May, too.
I’ll keep you posted as things develop. We close on our New York City apartment on July 6, and make our final flight to Florida the next day.
A new adventure awaits.
St. Joseph, pray for us!