I started this blog for a simple purpose. I just wanted to create a way for friends to be able to keep up with my service in New York City. For me, it has become so much more than that.
I learned how to write this year. I mean, I guess I knew how before, and I certainly have a long way to go, but I feel like I’m finally starting down the path of actually knowing how to use my words to convey the exact sentiment that I am meaning to convey. This blog is my first attempt to write something non-academic. It’s my own thoughts and experiences.
I love having a forum to communicate the powerful ideas that spin like fireworks in my mind. I know I’m not the best blogger. I’m constantly nervous about boring anyone who occasionally clicks on this page or who might come across a more personal post and might use it against me. I intentionally write in such a way that I would never be embarrassed if someone who was not a part of my intended audience came across it.
I know I still have a lot to learn about how to blog, but I also know that I’ve avoided the greatest sin of the blogosphere. -I post regularly. Sure, some are better than others, but I’m trying to work through the awkward ones. Guess it’s all apart of that continually perfecting process.
Anyways, I say all of this because I’m leaving New York in 24 hours, so it no longer seems fit to title my page “Summer 2011 NewYorkIsCalling.” I’m still not sure whether this blog will be retitled for my fall semester in Madrid or just default to a “fallfirst” theme to match the web address, but regardless, the title will be changing in the next day or so.
So I’m not quite sure what the mileage was that I put on my new tennis shoes today, but needless to say, they are thoroughly broken in. My last two teams arrived last night and this morning. The day started with a hike to the Staten Island Ferry, which we take because it gets within several hundred yards of the Statue of Liberty. I walked them down Wall St, by the famous Wall Street Bull, in front of the New York Stock Exchange, to Federal Hall (sight of Washington’s inauguration), past Trinity Church, through St. Paul’s Chapel, and to Ground Zero. …And that was all before lunch 🙂
I’ve been taking teams all over the Greater New York area alone all summer, but this was the first time I led (with the new intern) the big trip through parts of the city that I don’t often go through. (read: my father should finally believe me when I say that I know how to read a map. [love you dad]). Jeff was picking team two up at the airport, so we really were on our own.
After lunch, I joined the team on the citywide prayer walk, which I must admit is by far my favorite part of iServe. I like hanging out with the kids when they are able to connect to God in the chaos of Manhattan. Its more than just being able to tune out of the craziness and focus on God, it’s doing that and then realizing how badly the mess around needs Him. I like that.
The evening hours were spent hanging out with the Getz’s on Roosevelt Island, which was great as always. I am thoroughly beat though. I can’t believe that the summer is basically over or that I’ve been here since mid-May. That seems so long ago.
One thing I think I’ve really missed out on a little bit this summer is studying the history of different places in New York. Places have so much more significance to me when I understand where they’ve come from and how they’ve shaped the world. This regret was enough to motivate me to walk 5 avenues from Union Square to the High Line.
Originally constructed in the 1930s to lift freight trains above the streets of Manhattan, the High Line now serves as an elevated park on the West Side, and it is beautiful. Last time I was there a street performer gave me a history of some of the buildings around the line. Apparently, Nabisco packaged the first Oreos ever made there (while I’m certain many more important things than that happened in the neighborhood, my ears perked when he started discussing chocolate 🙂
I spent a beautiful afternoon on the High Line that I topped off with a LSAT study session in Central Park.
Tonight, I was walking back from small group and a thought hit me. I’m actually going to miss this city. We might have gotten off to a bad start. I might have had one too many quiet nights, but still, I’m finally starting to figure this place out. I was throughly lost tonight, and it didn’t even phase me. I knew that if I walked far enough in a certain direction I’d find my way home.
By the way, despite messing up my java chip frappacino, my Starbucks at 53rd and Lexington remains my favorite location New York. There are three Starbucks between the nearest subway stop and that one, but I wouldn’t trade my Starbucks for anything. Yesterday, piles of young business interns filed in and out all afternoon. The activity and continuous presence of people my age-ish helps me feel connected, and today I was chatting it up with a very endearing elderly gentleman. We discussed everything from Broadway shows to Manhattan real-estate and the Koch Brothers. It’s one of the few places I’ve been in the city where people actually make eye contact, let alone strike up friendly conversation with a stranger.
My Starbucks is right by the Chrysler Building (which is infinitely prettier than the Empire State Building)
I love how coffeehouses have been the places for conversation, work, and hanging out since coffee hit Europe in the early 16th century.
Due in large part to my ideal work location and delightful conversation, today was a model of productivity. I love it. Want proof? (I did other stuff too)
After two days of agonizing pain, I can finally walk without wincing, which means, I can go explore! I’m still in a fair amount of pain and wearing the back brace, but it’s not too bad.
I’m also in a place with my work where there isn’t a lot that I can move forward on until some folks reply to my emails and I meet with Jeff in the morning. -All the more reason to get out this afternoon. I need to create a custom map of stuff NYIC is doing across the city before General Conference, so I’m going to go run to a couple visitor centers to look at some templates.
Here’s a photo of the Manhattenhenge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattanhenge) I discussed earlier, but was unable to post.
Tomorrow commences the beginning of summer, which is always an adventure. I put all my stuff in storage a few days ago and have one ginormous suitcase sitting on an empty floor, ready for what will undoubtedly prove to be a rather uncomfortable train ride from New Haven to New York City.
So happy it doesn't have to be <50lbs
This summer I will be working with NewYorkIsCalling. I will be overseeing the ministry’s development with some long-term goals in mind. Over the last seven months, I have watched plans for this position come together in surprising and extraordinary ways. My family and I have been praying over this position since October, and despite other plans and opportunities in another city that I have long-since planned on pursuing, I am confident that New York is where God is sending me instead.
NewYorkIsCalling connects leaders, families, and students who love New York City and are committed to loving New Yorkers the way Jesus does. The ministry does this by coaching leaders, tutoring children before placement exams, serving the homeless, working to alleviate sex-trafficking in the city, and doing whatever else it can do to meet the needs of communities in practical ways. My primary responsibility with NewYorkIsCalling will be to put together a long-term funding strategy that will allow the ministry to pursue its mission in even bigger ways.
I will do my best to keep this updated, so you will know how it is going. I’m not sure to tell you what to expect, because I’m not sure what to expect. I suppose that’s why they call it an adventure…
What I know is this. I’m here because of God and whatever comes next is up to Him, so with that in mind, I’ll just take it one step at time.