A few days ago, everything worked out perfectly enough for me to get lost in Central Park for three hours.
The weather simply couldn’t have been more dreamy, and the sky was a drinkable shade of blue, with marshmallow clouds just waiting to turn into whatever my imagination could drum up. I had responsibly taken my computer into the city that day to make good use of my time, but quickly realized it would never see the sun.
My first distraction was a brilliant little pond with model sailboats. I sat captivated by a tiny blue-eyed girl walking along the water’s edge, gently pushing her boat out with a stick, then waiting for the wind to bring it back. I couldn’t help but think about my little girl … knowing she would probably have curly blonde hair like her mama … also knowing it was a good possibility that her pants would be rolled up and she would be in the middle of the pond if given the opportunity. It wasn’t a sad thought like one might expect from a single, 42-year-old woman, who may or may not have the opportunity to give birth to a daughter, but it did make me sigh, and smile.
Then I made my way to the Bethesda Pool, which happens to be next to the famed Boathouse. If the multiple romantic comedies filmed there weren’t enough to make my heart begin to swoon, then looking out over the water at the real live couples in rowboats, gazing into each other’s eyes, would do it. It was the cue for my “personal Hollywood magic” as birds sang, trees began to change into perfect fall colors, and a brilliant little blue box from Tiffany’s miraculously appeared from the pocket of some happily nervous man about to make the woman he loves cry. “Cut! Okay people, that’s a wrap!”
A young man sat artistically weaving melodies among the many picture-taking tourists with his acoustic guitar. A film crew was busy taking still shots of a handsome-yet-goofy guy with plaid shorts and horrible poses. Kids blew bubbles and giggled as they exploded on innocent passersby. Ballroom dancers were practicing something “Fred Astaire-like” on the terrace overlooking the fountain. Everywhere you looked, the scene was completely overwhelming and wonderful.
Do you ever feel like you are being completely intoxicated by the sights, smells and feelings around you, and you just can’t contain it all? That’s me. I am a girl who loves moments and drinks them in like an addict. While I do love a FEW hours of solitude, it gives me even greater pleasure to share the beautiful things in life with someone else. So, as wonderful as this day was, there was an annoying voice trying to drown out the beauty and remind me that I was alone—not just here in Central Park, but in life. It was real, and it began to get a little mean.
Then there she was … the girl who made me stop and wish my phone hadn’t run out of battery, so I could record a video. She was standing on a rock, arguing her case passionately about something she was willing to take a risk on. She threw her hands up, got frustrated at the response, then turned on a dime and stormed off. The only problem was that she was the only person on that rock. It was hysterical! In typical New York fashion, I am sure this up-and-coming actress was rehearsing lines with an imaginary partner who had really missed the point and ticked her off.
For a brief moment, a gutsy tear found its way on my cheek, as I was reminded again that I was alone. I felt like the girl on the rock. I was experiencing these wonderful sights, sounds and emotions … alone. I was passionate about something so much bigger than me.
But I had no one to share it with.
Now before you start composing an encouraging email to make me feel like a million bucks, tell me how incredibly beautiful I am inside and out, and send me scriptures reminding me that I am never alone, just hear me out. Thank you for all of that, by the way! And before you get excited that I am finally letting you all in about what really goes on behind the smile, I want you to know that this was nothing more than a moment.
I was offered a choice to either take on aloneness as my identity, or refuse it altogether. Had I gone with it, I would have been led into the tumbling descent of sadness, picking myself apart for every flaw, or fully analyzing why I was obviously still single. Or I could have realized that the enemy was attempting to encroach on my beautiful NYC moment with his story. The fact is that there is really no contest in my world, because God and I decided a long time ago that the enemy and his lies get no air time.
I did ask God what was up with my “single” status. I asked Him if I would ever experience the romance I so passionately believe in. We talked about partnership. We discussed my longing for a team. I even went through the normal gamut of questions about my body, my career choices, my availability, my juvenile shyness when it comes to men I like and what I may or may not be projecting—you know, those real questions that don’t freak God out.
In one second, the last six years of my life flashed before my eyes. I saw the thousands of people who had come through my tiny apartment and had encounters with God that changed everything. I saw the hours spent at Starbucks, sitting across from my hero friends. I began to laugh through the tears just thinking about the hundreds of testimonies that are lived all around me in NYC. I cried at the many who call me “Mama” all over the world, people whose legacies will far surpass mine.
Then, I heard God say, “Thank you.” He thanked me for saying “yes” and pouring my life into this city and these people. I wept as I realized I wouldn’t have wanted to change one SINGLE thing. I am truly honored to devote my time, energy and love to the people and city who have my heart. I also knew that my time was coming, because He said so.
You see, I love my life. No, really. I crazy … over-the-top … luckiest girl in the world … ridiculously happy all the time … smiling from ear to ear … LOVE my life. I have no regrets. While there are deep desires in my heart for love, romance, partnership and adventure, there is a place of deep contentment that I abide in, play in, work in and rest in. It’s in Him. It’s in trusting that God is the absolute best defender of my heart, best fulfiller of my dreams and best writer of my love story.
Sure, there may be days like this one that try to invade my happy resolve.
There will be desires that make me cry out in vulnerability to the only One who will never leave or forsake me.
There are days when the enemy makes an offering that sounds as if it’s from the most brilliant defense lawyer money can buy.
Unfortunately for him, case is ironclad. My reality is so much deeper, loving, intricate, adventurous and colorful than any storybook fairy tale. I am completely enthralled with this ever-expanding journey.
My choice is gratitude for every single day I live … never alone, not even for one second. In the Central Park in my head, I actually get to choose who plays, who speaks, and who has my heart.