Eso es alcanzar lo más alto,

lo que tal vez nos dará el Cielo:

no admiraciones ni victorias

sino sencillamente ser admitidos

como parte de una Realidad innegable,

como las piedras y los árboles.

Jorge Luis Borges

Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923)

This is the best that can happen,

What heaven perhaps will grant us:

Not to be wondered at or required

To succeed

But simply to be let in

As part of an undeniable Reality,

Like stones of the road, like trees.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NYC and a message of hope

Yesterday I went with some fellow orientee's to New York City for the day.  When I first found out about the trip I decided that I would plan to do just a few things there instead of trying to cram too much in, so I booked myself tickets to Wicked , a broadway musical about the "untold" story of the wicked witch of the west.  The underlying message of the musical was about history being the story told by whoever comes out on top.  I quite agree.

Before that I also spent some time wandering around central park.  I was surprised at how huge the park actually is and I managed to lose my way a few times before finding my way back out.  Here are some images from the park:

The trip was meaningful because, as anyone who knew me years ago could attest, I used to be completely obsessed with New York City.  It represented everything that small town northern Alberta definitely was not.  I wanted excitement, energy, new and interesting experiences and to come in contact with people and ideas that could shake me up and make me feel incredibly alive.  Being a musician, I dreamed about a life in the arts, with Broadway being the ultimate dream.  In contrast what I had felt like a dull, dreary world with no change, no excitement, and no way out.  So it was with some confusion that I left NYC yesterday thinking, "well, I guess I can check that off my list" and realizing that I have no great desire to ever go back.

Then today at church instead of a sermon there was a play centered on Luke 24, verses 13-33.  It tells the story, after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, of two men who are traveling and talking about everything that happened.  The drama did a good job of creating two characters in deep pain, including one who was emotionally shaken to the core, and the other who was angry and finding his whole belief system dismantled.  Even though Jesus walked with them for many hours and listened to their pain, their confusion and their questions, he did not reveal himself until they were at their destination.  The travelers did not believe that he had been resurrected and so they could not see him for who he was.  It made me think about how so many times it's hard to see what is new because we are still stuck in the past.  We can't recognize the opportunities we have because we can't let go of preconceived and stubbornly held pictures of what we think we want.  

I never would have thought that NYC could really mean so little to me, or that going to a place like El Salvador to do HIV education could have the potential to engage and excite me on such a deep level.  There is a kind of loss even in that.  I remember the idealized and perfected images I used to have of what would make me happy, and subsequently how they have been painfully knocked out of me one at a time.  I wonder if in the end by not getting what I wanted I got something better.  I think it must be about how we grow into ourselves, and about learning to see opportunities, sometimes even in the midst of loss, and taking life up on them instead of stubbornly clinging to what we think should be.  


  1. Well said!
    (and even though NYC wasn't what you thought it would be, I'm glad you got a chance to go to!)

  2. So happy you got to go to NYC, even if you now realize that you don't want to b there, still happy you can cross that off your list :) Well, sounds like you've been busy! Thats awesome! We miss you like crazy but are so happy that you're enjoying your journey so far :)

  3. This post makes me a little sad. I'm not sure why? It's probably because I suspect that I might feel the same way... If I went to New York. But I am also happy for you, you're on a quest and New York is not the end point.

  4. nice....I could write the exact same post about my visit to Paris. Glad I went but have no desire to go back. I think some of these places that get so much media are so over rated and once you're there the glitz, glamor and romance are left at home...on your TV or in the magazine ad. Like a shampoo ad that makes you think if you buy it it will transform you completely into someone else....and it does not. I also am glad you got to go.....and hopefully many more adventures like these.