the calm after the storm

Doesn't exist in New York City.

This morning I met some friends at 8:15 AM to ride over to Brooklyn and volunteer with the Hope for New York program. It is a organization that is widely supported and endorsed by Redeemer, and it is an outreach program to help the homeless, unloveable, unfortunate people in New York City. So, I went over to Brooklyn and helped serve food to the homeless and needy and other members of the church there, and then mingled with them and ate breakfast to try and get to know them a little better. Pastor Ron of Living Waters Fellowship (the church where this takes place) does all the cooking - eggs, sausage and pancakes - and his wife Anna and a few other ladies help out with the serving details. This is always such a good experience for me because it is so humbling. And it puts me WAY out of my comfort zone (and it's super early to be somewhere on a Saturday morning). However, every time I go, I get the most overwhelming joy from being there. It is such a fun and enriching thing to help people who really need it. And because I didn't grow up doing this sort of thing, it is always really difficult for me to jump right in and "mingle with the homeless people", but New York is bringing me out of my comfort zone in a lot more ways than one, and I couldn't be more thankful.

               These are some of the kids who come to the free breakfast on Saturday mornings.

Then after our trip to Brooklyn, I came home and crashed for about 4 or 5 hours. It was rainy and stormy, and I had only slept 5 hours the night before, so I decided it was the perfect afternoon for a nap. Usually I hate taking naps because of the way I feel when I wake up, but this was just what the doctor ordered. I slept for about 3 hours until I was awakened by the loudest thunder I've ever heard. I don't know if it's that I'm on the 8th floor here and I'm closer to the clouds and thunder or what, but I have never in my whole life heard thunder so loud. So I continued to lay in bed for a while, and then after the weather calmed down a little bit decided I wanted to venture out for some dinner. I thought since the weather had been so intense, the city would be nice and calm...and maybe even deserted. I was way off - hence the title of this post. People running everywhere. Taxis honking. People yelling. It was just as hustle and bustle as ever. So I went down to Union Square and had dinner at my favorite deli - Toasties. I sat at a table in the back by myself (completely thrilled to be sitting in a restaurant eating by myself) and watched the news. It couldn't have been more enjoyable. Then I decided I would go to Barnes & Noble in Union Square and check out a few things, read a few books for a while. So I did this and while I was in B&N, another torrential downpour overtook the city. I waited around for a little while to see if it would pass, and then all of the sudden I had an overwhelming urge to be out in the rain. (If you know me, you know I hate to get dirty and wet and my absolute LEAST favorite thing about New York is walking anywhere when it's raining...) I'm not sure why this came about, but it just seemed very peaceful and calming, so I left the bookstore in one of the hardest rains I've been in in a while...and I intentionally walked through every single deep puddle I passed on the way home and was completely soaking wet when I finally made it to the Markle, and I loved it.

And, as I walked 5 blocks home, I finally found the calm of the storm in New York City. But as most things are here, it was a little different than normal - the calm came during the storm, not after.