If I seem really abnormally energetic right now, it’s because I am sleep-deprived and full of hot chocolate. But this is beside the point.
Remember how in my last post I said that college was not the place to exercise good sleep habits? Exhibit A: I pulled an all-nighter last night. My first official all-nighter in college. And I won’t lie; I was watching a YouTube video series called “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” I’m sure some of you might know about it, though most of you probably don’t. It’s basically a modern-day vlog of the life of Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I’m a hopeless romantic, AND I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen’s writings. Also, Pride and Prejudice (the Focus Features movie, the BBC One five-hour movie, the book, you name it) happens to be one of my favorite stories of all time. So I spent the night quietly squealing and sobbing and pumping my fists as I watched all one-hundred episodes of this video blog. By the time I had finished, it was six-thirty in the morning.
Most people would probably just go to sleep. And I probably would have too. But I looked out my window and thought, “I wonder what the sun rise looks like right now on the Brooklyn Bridge.” So I packed up all of my stuff and walked outside.
Turns out, the sun wasn’t coming up because it was pouring rain and the sky was overcast. I was slightly disappointed, but then I decided I would walk in the rain with God. I didn’t care where, or even how long; I just wanted to spend time with Him. So I plugged in my headphones and began walking across campus towards Dekalb Ave. Nobody was up, and I mean nobody. The pathways were vacant. So I ran and danced and sang and it felt so liberating to just be totally me in front of God and the whole world, even if no one was watching except for Him. I even gave into my childishness and kicked a huge pile of leaves sitting on the lawn.
By the time I exited the campus gates, my hair was already drenched, my shoes were soaked, and my hands were numb. But it was okay 🙂 My father used to be a football coach. I can’t tell you how many times me, my mother, and my siblings sat in the pouring rain in the middle of fall, bundled up in sweaters, hats, gloves, and blankets, still feeling the cold seep through to our bare skin as we cheered on our team and my father. I was used to it. Besides, weather is one of those many things through which God shows how awesome He is. My mom and I, during the summer or even late spring, would sit out on our back porch and watch storm clouds roll in. My little brother, Jimmy, would measure how far away the storm actually was by counting the rolls of thunder and strikes of lightning. To think that the One who made those clouds roll, who just made rain fall to give the earth a much needed drink, who could harness a power as unpredictable and dangerous as static electricity, was my best friend, made witnessing the weather so much more beautiful and exciting.
As I walked the morning, rainy streets of the city, I realized that Brooklyn at seven in the morning is much different from Brooklyn at noon or at night. It’s much more innocent, I think; more people smiled and fewer tried to avoid eye contact. Not many people were on the sidewalk, and very few cars passed me by, which I never thought I’d see in New York City. Because no one was on the sidewalk, I sang out loud to God, not caring if anyone thought I was crazy.
Eventually, I reached my destination (I didn’t realize it was my destination until I got there). Target didn’t open until eight o’clock, and it was eleven minutes after seven when I got there. So I stood outside, observing Barclays Center and watching the traffic increase and the people emerge from too little sleep and embrace the effects of cheap coffee. But it was amazing to see.
The Target on Atlantic Ave. is part of a sort of mall (I say sort of because it’s not like any mall I’ve ever seen, but everyone else says it’s a mall). One door of the mall was open, so I went in there once the rain grew heavier. The floor I was on was completely vacant, save a security guard sitting on a bench. It was eerie, the emptiness. I observed and explored, surprised to see that there were decorative wreaths hanging high up on the walls, strands of holly wrapping around banisters, and festive winter wear being advertised in The Children’s Place and Avenue. I guess Christmas really does come earlier every year. I discovered a Cold Stone Creamery right there. I’ve gone to Target plenty of times and never knew there was a Cold Stone Creamery so close.
After wandering and waiting a little longer, I walked outside, but not before a lady sitting on one of the mall benches handed me a tract. Before I even looked at the piece of paper, I knew she was a Jehovah’s Witness. I don’t know why…just a vibe. Reading the tract confirmed it. It felt weird for someone to give me a tract, but I didn’t throw it out or mock her: I read it and then slipped it into my purse.
Once I was outside, I noted that it was still raining. When I looked around from where I was standing, I noticed a large grocery store right across from Target that I’d never noticed before. I took the liberty of crossing the street and going into the store. This place felt like home. The inside reminded me a lot of Price Chopper or Wal Mart. It even had the same smell. As I walked through the isles, looked at all of the baked goods in the bakery, and watched the seafood people shovel fresh ice into the displays where they would put the fish, I began to feel homesick. I recalled all the midnight visits to Wal Mart my mom and I had taken and our many adventures there.
You’ve only got about a week and a half left until you go home.
Yep. That’s right. Thank You, Jesus, for that week and a half. Even though I don’t what’s going to happen during that time, I’m excited for what waits for me at the end 😀 Huh, I guess that’s kind of how life works. You don’t know what’s going to happen during the time you’re here, but, if you’re saved, you have that security of knowing what’s going to happen in the end 🙂
On my walk, my hands had practically frozen. I picked up a two-dollar pair of turquoise gloves to warm them. I also grabbed some pretzel chips, Ritz crackers, shampoo, and a York peppermint patty. I didn’t want to buy a ton of food because 1) I’ve only got a week and a half before break, then only two weeks after that before a month off 2) It was raining outside and too many things meant more possibilities of me slipping or getting all of the perishable stuff ruined 3) I didn’t really need anything. I bought my things and left happy. I talked to God on my way back. I talked to Him about the future, about my life, about Him.
I noticed that there were a lot more dogs being walked by their owners than usual. Maybe it was just because it was a Saturday morning. Hm.
About three-quarters of the way back, my sleep-deprivation and hunger finally caught up with me. I’ve been wanting to get something from this little bakery called Bagel World for a while. I’ve passed it plenty of times but never actually went in. It’s a cute little place, definitely popular among the locals. There was a woman in front of me ordering about two dozen bagels for work. Her and I began talking about the diversity of food in the city, and I told her about my eating fish eggs on sushi pizza at Waza. She made me feel like a real New Yorker when she said, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that. On Myrtle, you said? Well, I know what I’m having tomorrow for lunch.”
I ended up ordering a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and a medium hot chocolate. It surprised me that this meal was significantly cheaper than a breakfast in the cafeteria, and it tasted ten times better. Don’t get me wrong; for cafeteria food, Pratt’s is actually really good with a great variety. But it’s nice to get something freshly-toasted and a beverage milky and sweet.
As I continued my walk, my hot chocolate continuously splashed over the edge of the cup. Then, when there was a huge flock of pigeons in the middle of the sidewalk, I ran through them, laughing, but also spilling my beverage all over my jeans and my rain coat. That’s when I noticed how insane and messy I probably looked. But then I remembered Who loves me, that I’m not trying to impress anybody, that I’m happy, and I continued to walk, drinking what was left of my hot chocolate.
I finally crept quietly into the dorm (to not wake Lin) at nine o’clock. I took a shower and climbed into bed, opening up my journal to talk to God about our time together. But sleep quickly overtook me, and I stayed asleep until about two o’clock.
The rest of my day was spent primarily doing homework. The other part was my being worried (I know, I know; Hunter, stop the worrying, it’s really pathetic). But last night when I was watching that vlog, there was one video the protagonist did about her being worried about how she was going to pay back her student loans, about how uncertain her future was, about how her mother wanted her out of the house already. I felt that worry again. But then I remembered that my future isn’t uncertain, not at all. No, I don’t really have a solid plan, but that’s only because whenever I make a plan that I think is the best plan ever, God always comes up with something way better. I have an idea, but that’s to become a hermit and live in a log cabin surrounded by green fields, Hobbits, and herds of sheep somewhere in Ireland…or something to that extent. That’s my thought, but God can do whatever He wants with it, regardless of my worry.
Thank You, Jesus, for giving me the freedom from worry, from uncertainty, from fear. I wish I tapped into it more. Thank You for rain, all-nighters, and hole in the wall bagel places with exotic customers. And thank You, most of all, for life, and the privilege to live it fully 🙂 In Jesus’ name, amen.