Sunday, February 6, 2000

A Hardened Heart

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)

February marks the fifth month in the past ten that I've worked in New York. Most of my life I vowed that I would never work in New York; the fast pace, the traffic, and the multitudes of people were simply too much for me to bear. But amazingly, I'm growing to like it. On one side of the building, there's the Statue of Liberty. On another, there's the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers. The view is simply breathtaking.

When I first started my consulting trips last May, I was in awe of all the droves of people that filled the NYC subways. I remember taking a step back and laughing as I watched thousands of people run up the escalators and scoot their way across the hallways. I vowed I would never get caught up in the "I will do anything to catch my train" philosophy. But I was wrong. As the weeks and months went by, there I was running through the halls (with my heavy laptop bag in hand) weaving my way through the enemies blocking my path. Didn't they know I had a 6:27 pm train to catch??

But this past week I promised myself to take that same step back I took last May; not to laugh at all the thousands of people cluttering the halls, but to see if there was someone in need. I started the day with a "Good Morning" to the man who sits in a wheelchair outside the New Brunswick train station every morning. I thought regretfully about all those mornings I whistled by him without even thinking twice about it.

I rode the train to Newark, and stood in line for the PATH to pay my $1. I saw a man struggling with the machine and the crumpled dollar bill he was never going to succeed with. I thought about all the past failed attempts I had witnessed and all the frustration that had arisen inside me each time - I decided this time to insert a non-crumpled dollar bill on his behalf instead.

I rode the PATH to the World Trade Center, and started the long walk to the account. I saw a lady with two arm braces struggling to walk through the crowded halls. The next day, there she was again. I began to wonder if she had been there all these months. Was I too busy to notice? Was I so eager to get to the account or to get home that I simply didn't care?

I've got 3 more weeks left in NYC. My hope is that a man in a wheelchair will get 15 "Good Mornings", a person in desperate need will get a crisp $1 bill, and a lady in 2 arm braces will get 15 prayers.