I’ve been traveling a lot this summer. I went to Tampa for General Synod 28, Baltimore for the first gathering of Lewis Fellows and most recently Durham for The Young Clergy Women Project. It’s been good for me to travel. It’s helped me to wonder about the wider church and the context of my own ministry. Most of all it’s helped me to remember who I’m called to be. But let’s be honest. It’s exhausting. I haven’t yet found the renewal I need.
So I’m sitting in the airport hoping and praying that my flight to New York City actually takes off. C’mon Irene. I went to seminary in New York. I grew up 33 miles away — a statistic I know from editing my high school yearbook. It’s actually 33.2 miles but I’m a little ashamed that I can remember that of all random facts. It is home. And so I love going back to visit. Long ago, when I was wrestling with where God would call me from seminary, I discerned that I was ready to leave New York. It’s not where I feel called no matter how much I love it. Instead, it’s a place to find renewal. It’s where I go when I need a dose of creativity or to encounter those people that know me best.
So I’m looking forward to this trip should Irene cooperate. I’m looking forward to the friend in seminary that shoved me against a wall on a city street insisting we’d be life long friends. She was right. And yes, you had to be there. I get to see my old roommate I’m Brooklyn who moved back recently. A friend who gave me so much grace while I scofflaws demons through the early days of seminary. I knew I was changing. I just didn’t know how to share it. She looked squarely at me across a cafe table and told me (with some expletitives involved) and said I was crazy. I get to see another friend who moved to NY who I don’t think belongs there at all. I know him from another life when we shared a passion for art. It amazes me that we keep in touch and actually see each other with some regularity. Closer to my hometown, I’ll see my oldest and dearest friend and the woman who was my minister once but is now my colleague and friend.
And then, there’s the friend I’ll stay with in the city. We have so many city rituals that it’s hard to squeeze them all in. We have a habit of taking long walks traversing the city after dinner. It started in college when we both commuted from home to summer jobs. Back then, we didn’t want to pay the $1.50 for subway fare. And we had time. So we walked 100s of blocks. That’s not even an exaggeration. There’s always Broadway which we used to often get free unclaimed tickets from my step-mothers law firm. Now we wait at TKTS and see what luck holds. We had an ongoing quest that had documentation with our own ranking system for the best burger in the city. It went on for years. Now we just return again and again to the obvious winner. That’s where dinner is tonight. I can’t wait.