“It never ceases to amaze me”

March 1, 2021 - 12:00am -- Living City

“It never ceases to amaze me”
Amid the challenges of a move, new opportunities arise

I have been living in a Focolare household for over 31 years. In May 2019, I was asked to assume a leadership role in the Focolare’s West Coast region, which meant moving thousands of miles away from Chicago where I had lived for more than seven years.

I thought about it. I prayed about it. I said my yes.

At the end of July, I went to my boss’s office to turn in my resignation. I realized then how much I was giving up: a secure job, a future in the field of IT, and an environment of solidarity and harmony.

My boss was caught by surprise, but quickly composed himself. Turning to his computer monitor, he silently pulled up the focolare.org website and scrolled through a few pages. As I spoke, I saw him coming to terms with my decision. I also told him that I hoped to leave the door open for possible future collaboration.

At home, while packing my suitcases, I realized that in Los Angeles, I wouldn’t need my winter clothes, so I bundled them up and brought them to the Focolare household in Upstate New York.

Parting from three decades-worth of correspondence, however, proved more difficult. There were several pounds of my mother’s letters above all, but also of family, friends and many dear people. Leafing through my photos provided flashbacks and emotions that I had perhaps long since “archived.”

Purging operations, such as these, are often charged with melancholy and regret. Not discounting the pain, I can say this gambit was incredibly liberating. It also left me with a new resolve to not forget anyone nor brush aside any relationship in the future.

On the drive to L.A., while my “copilot” was snoozing, many thoughts crowded my mind: faces of people whom I had met, friendships that had deepened, relationships of true unity. Then I thought of the failures to nurture relationships, disagreements hardly resolved, tears of sorrow that I had welcomed in me and dried up.

It was as if the Holy Spirit was telling me: “I have already claimed your past, and your future. The little you still have is in my care — so just live in the now!”

I have been in L.A. for almost a year now, and I can say that my burning desire is to love more and love better.

Looking for a job proved difficult. I participated in a job fair for professionals, but there were no job offers in IT within a 30-mile radius. I walked to a nearby middle school, with resume in hand, but, as was the case at the local grocery store, I was asked to fill out a form online.

Reading the classified ads, I smiled to myself as I thought of how, as a computer engineer for a research group at the photon accelerator in Argonne (Chicago), I was now eager to work as an insurance salesman, furniture seller, dishwasher or appliance supplier. In fact, a few days later, I interviewed for a job as a cashier and sales associate in a furniture store. I passed the interview with flying colors, but since I asked to work part-time, I was never called back.

However, the following day, a friend offered me to work for him as a cashier in his pharmacy, a job so different from what I had left months ago. I am still learning the ropes, but as the cashier, I can offer a smile or, from time to time, a word of understanding or encouragement to people who are picking up their prescriptions.

Once again, Jesus has shown me that what the Gospel promises is true. The hundredfold in this life: houses, brothers, sisters, fields (work) have all been given to me. I’m curious to know when and how the persecutions will come, but regarding those, I’m in no hurry!

I have experienced great freedom, I am grateful every evening for God’s immeasurable love, which never ceases to move and amaze me.

- Giampiero Sciutto, Los Angeles

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