Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Taking a Bite out of the Big Apple

I forgot to bring an extra pair of feet with me to New York City.

I am the youngest of three girls and my “big” sister and I and traveled to the Big Apple to visit our middle sister-the aspiring and talented fashion designer. She has bravely decided to pursue her dream in such a large and loud city, something I don’t think I could have done.

This wasn’t my first trip, it was my third actually, but it was an eye opener. I got to see where my sister lived, her routes of travel and essentially her life in the “Big City”. I have admired her for years but to see her in her surroundings allowed me to understand her way of life and the challenges she faces.

From the moment she met us at the Air Train it was non-stop walking, walking and more walking. There are no such things as comfortable shoes in New York City. I brought 4 pairs of my most comfy shoes and not one could do the job. I should have bought stock in “Band-Aids” before I left.

This weekend was truly a blessing. As I walked with my big sisters my senses were overloaded with the smells, sounds and touches of this city. As I walked side by side with them I came to understand a little about life and the delicate balance of the human nature. We were three women exploring, no longer young girls. Each of us has followed their vocation, going where we think God wishes for us to be. And in this city everyone goes about their life, not knowing what kind of effect they will have on the person next to them. But how we live our life most assuredly impacts those around us.

There are several things I noticed while visiting. It is a dirty place. It may not look dirty but the hot and humid weekend left a layer of yuck on me. The subway rides made me feel like a mole person and the sheer number of homeless left me somewhat sad. As we past newsstands I tried to avert my gaze due to the prominent displays of pornographic magazines. And of course, there was the Gay “Pride” parade of which we were in the middle of, by accident of course. There was no lack of stereotypes there. Gay men flaunted their body glitter and effeminate gaits. Masculine “womyn” were everywhere to be seen. This is strictly an observation.

But what spoke to me the most was the hopeful nature of New York City.

The big beautiful Churches were astonishing. I was able to visit two which knocked my socks off. Our visits to Our Lady of Good Counsel on the Upper East Side and St. Vincent Ferrer on Lexington were a feast for the soul.

I saw a man helping a stranger with her groceries, cross the street.

I saw children being lovingly guided by their smiling parents.

New York City firefighters and police officers rushed to help those in need, even if it was to offer directions to tourists.

The men who were working their sidewalk carts endured blazing temperatures to make a living. What difficult work that must be.

One of my favorite moments happened in the Subway terminal. I woman was playing a saw, as in the carpentry tool. It wasn’t that she was playing the saw that was interesting; it was the fact that she was playing the Ave Maria. It was quite beautiful.

Then there were the Protestant faithful who gathered to see Billy Graham, many of them were smiling as they made their pilgrimage to see this man of faith. I couldn’t help but to notice the irony that Grahams Crusade fell on the same day as the Gay Pride parade.

There is so much more to write about my trip to New York, which I will do in the coming days. Unfortunately I have to go and put my feet up. Two days later, my feet are still sore.

I should have brought an extra pair of feet.


Anonymous said...

I've been thanking God from before you and Jen visited until now (2 days have passed since you both left)that he gave all of us a chance to be together for a sister weekend. We now know for sure that God has a great sense of humor to do so on one of the hottest and stickiest weekends this year! :) Praise be God that we are lucky enough to have supportive families that will do without their daughters, mothers and their wives for a whole weekend just so they could have a bit of R & R. I also had a wonderful time playing tour guide. It's hard to get back to normal life. So many blase things to do.
Today I spent my lunch time looking for a new pair of feet.:)

Catholic Mom said...

Well my sister, I think I left my feet somewhere on 82nd street-I would look there if I were you.

I think Marc is still in "stay at home Dad" shock - though the house was incredibly clean when I came home! (He has beena good sport!) Bad news though, I don't think he will give me up any time soon.

By the way-I'm buying you earplugs for Christmas. I don't know how you can sleep with the sound of so many sirens.

Pax Christi my fashionable sister!

protestant mom said...

Awesome writing!! Thank you so much for sharing your trip and your time with us. Our family needs to get down there soon I suppose - 17 year old son is itching to go. What a brave sister you have!

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