I had the morning and afternoon to spend in New York City. I didn’t have specific goals. I’d done a lot of must-sees. I simply wanted to enjoy the city, and I decided to do it by walking. Starting in Brooklyn, I began the day with a leisurely breakfast like no other when in NYC: a fresh bagel. Delish. Then I started my walking day.
I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, enjoying the sunshine and the variety of people. I stopped to offer to take photos of many couples and families who would otherwise have one person left out of their New York skyline photos. For those heading into Brooklyn, I made sure to suggest the Brooklyn Bridge Park as a must-see, since my nephew works there. It’s a gorgeous park and has many shops and restaurants of Dumbo nearby.
As I entered Manhattan, my plan was to walk across the borough and find the High Line, but after only a few blocks, I realized how close I was to the 911 Memorial. I’d visited the museum last year, but I felt compelled to loop the extra blocks and pay my respects. I sat on a bench and watched. Such a stark contrast to the devastation of years ago. The tenacity to rebuild such beautiful buildings and park is powerful to me. I breathed in freedom and was a bit extra thankful for those who continually put themselves in danger to protect others.
As I left the area, I set out for the High Line, a walkway built on an old elevated train line. It was a longer walk than I expected, but I strolled through neighborhoods I’d never seen before. I enjoyed the variety of architecture and the quiet streets.
Before starting the High Line, I decided to get a fresh juice for a refresher. As I waited for my drink, I checked my email. I don’t hear from my ex often, but when I do, it involves a problem. Not exactly what I wanted to deal with in the middle of my walking day, but life is interrupted at times. I took a short break, responded the best I could, and determined to savor the day regardless of the junk trying to crowd into it.
And oh, what a blessing the High Line was. The green spaces, unique views of the city, proximity to fabulous architecture, and more. Absolutely beautiful. Then, at the end of the High Line was a gorgeous building of stairs. That’s it. Just stairs. It was a tall structure, and I’m sure the views from it were stunning. But I had luggage with me and decided even more steps up and down were not the best plan. I needed to head toward the conference venue where I’d speak the next morning. I found the best transit route and headed on my way.
Many steps. I have no idea how many steps I walked that day, but every step was worth it. It was a day of observation and reflection, prayer and gratitude, quiet within noise, solitude among crowds. It was a good reset day. It was just what I needed.
Perhaps you can’t set aside a day for walking. But I challenge you to do something that pushes you to set a significant amount of time aside (and what “significant” involves depends on you). Do something that gets you outside of your routine. Be prepared to open your mind and heart to listen well. Experience your life with a fresh perspective. Be okay with pushing yourself a bit outside your comfort zone. Regardless of the weather, it will probably be a beautiful day because of what God will reveal to you throughout it.