Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ode to New York

Nine years is a long time. It’s a long time to long for a place and for people who have touched you so deeply. Nine years ago, at this time of year, I was praying, planning, and anticipating my summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ. A summer project that would change my heart, bless me richly, and remind me of the fragility of life in so many ways. In the summer of 2001, I was headed to New York City to spend 8 weeks surrounded by other college students determined to share God’s love with a city that would end up blessing us more than we could ever imagine. Little did we know that one month to the day after leaving, the city we had fallen in love with would be ripped apart by terrorism so heinous and so evil that our beloved city would take years to recover.

Every time spring rolls around I think about the city and all of the blessings I received from her. I think about the friends I made, the laughs we shared, and the growth that happened. I find myself often dividing my reflections into the personal and spiritual, and I smile so often when thinking about my summer. Personally, here are some of the memories and moment I cherish:

· Watching the sunset from the rooftop deck of my discipler’s apartment
· Getting up at 4:00 am with friends to head to the Today Show
· Getting up at 4:00 am to secure front row seats to the Broadway show Aida
· Walking through Central Park with my girls Liz and Caroline
· Laughing hysterically when my roommate said “Grace and Peace, and please be quiet I am trying to sleep”
· Laughing again hysterically after our room was searched for “stolen” offering plates- I mean really, what would we have done with those?
· Sharing a shower with 20 other girls and not complaining
· Falling asleep to the breeze of a fan and the sounds of the city
· Riding the subway to the end of the line and back again
· Having my quiet times in the corner window of Border’s at the WTC that overlooked St. Paul’s church
· $1.50 pizza, need I say more?
· Watching the 4th of July fireworks as they were fired from the Hudson River
· Watching tree branches smack my friends in the head as we rode a big blue bus (Blue Cheese) back from a camp retreat

There are a million more personal moments I could share but really, the greater blessing for me was a spiritual and emotional one. While there were uncountable blessings, I want to share a few:

· Spending time with 50 other college students of all backgrounds, all sharing one goal
· Making friends with incredible people who I still think of, pray for, and love even though time has separated us- love you Lizzy!
· Spending hours sitting on a curb with my BFF Liz talking about God, life, school, family- anything
· Getting to worship in churches all over the city, with a diverse group of people
· Getting to work with Daniel- a street prayer warrior- who left his heart on the streets with the people he met
· Serving up food at a homeless shelter and praying for the souls eating the meals
· Being in an incredible action group with some incredible young women, all of who taught me something about life through their own experiences
· By planning and praying over our weekly meetings- there is nothing like being in a small room, with no AC, singing praise songs with 50 other people
· Sitting in the weekly lecture of Tony Carnes (I later found out, an editor of Christianity Today), learning about the religious heritage of NYC
· Meeting so many awesome people in NYC and being convinced of the plan God has for that city and its people- even more so now post-9/11!

Can you see why I miss it just a little? I have GOT to get back there!

Pics will be posted soon- as soon as I figure out how to scan them!

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