I love hate New York City. From the people that I’ve talked with over the years, you either love it or hate it. Nobody seems content to be ‘ok’ with it. To help you understand why I’m so put off by it, let me give you a run through of just 2 days that I had over the last week.
I got up at 4 AM and dropped Alicia off at JFK. This was probably the only time I’ve ever seen ‘little’ traffic on the side streets. I would have preferred to take the parkway, but I’m not allowed. My truck is too big and I would get a ticket if I drove on a road that might actually get me somewhere relatively fast. All parkways are limited to passenger cars only (I realize this must be great for people in passenger cars, but is a giant frustration to me as I’m forced to drive through the endless rows of stoplights). Anyway, on my way back from the airport I got caught up in the 6 AM rush and stuttered my way to the school that I was doing in Brooklyn. I drove around the school for 10 minutes trying to find a parking space. After finding said parking space I found that it was Tuesday and I wasn’t allowed to park there between 8 and 10 due to street cleaning…exactly when I would be there for my show at 9. I unloaded my sound system and carted it a block to the school then proceeded to drive in circles for 30 minutes looking for another parking space that I could actually park in.
After all this, I did my show, packed up and then sat in traffic for 1.5 hours trying to get across a very overpriced bridge ($16 each way). I had one great point where I went 1/10th of a mile in 30 minutes just to find that they had blocked the road to fill pot holes. I barely made it in time for my second show. That night I parked my truck on a side street in front of the school I would be at the next morning. I got a ticket…It seems that I was parked too close to a stop sign 45 feet away (this was actually in New Jersey, but same difference). The best part was, I was in the truck and the cop never bothered to check if I was there, just gave me a ticket for a law that wasn’t posted and I was somehow supposed to magically know. Ah, I love this area.
I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth does all this have to do with anything…here goes. How in the world am I supposed to reach kids when I hate everything leading up to my program? How am I going to do a good show? Won’t all this pent up frustration come out while I’m performing? Ah yes, the bad day syndrome.
The thing that brought this all up to me was while I was sitting in traffic, a school bus passed me and a little girl was sitting there staring at me. She moved her arm in the classic ‘blow your horn’ sign that I’m sure we’ve all done when passing a trucker. I sat there and thought, “she’s probably a really cool kid and my show for her would probably stink right now”. How many times has your message/service blew because you had just had a bad day. I deal with this in a different way then most ministers because I see roughly 150,000 students per year, they only see me once and that’s the only impression they’re gonna get. There’s no chance for an excuse, I have to be good every show, feelings don’t matter and circumstances have to be overcome. So what do you do?
Over the years I’ve come to realize the power of scripture. Everytime I find myself having one of those days I just take a few moments and start speaking specific verses. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. God has given me this ministry and anytime he gives me something to do, he’s going to give me the ability to do it. I can’t rely on myself to do this, it just wouldn’t work. When I let his word and his strength fill me up and lead me on, I can do what I’m here to do. My wife loves to use music to help her through it, everyone has their own way. Find what works and make a plan. When one of those days come up, stick to the plan whether you feel like it or not. You’ll be amazed how God can come through and help you have a great service.
Ahhh…One more week…plenty of prayer will be occuring, especially since the Mrs. is on vacation and I have to drive, perform and manage the wookiee solo for another 9 days. I love this city.
Quick note: I don’t hate the people. They’re awesome. I’ve met so many amazing people in NYC that it would be tough to count (pizza here is really good too). I hate the traffic, the mass of people and the experience. I will always be a small town boy, I wasn’t built to live in the big city.