This morning was brilliant beyond brilliant, and the day was even more so. Days like this come only once in a while, and I’m totally undeserving of God’s grace in this. It’s odd…He saved me from Hell, brought me into Him because He loves me and wants to protect me and encourage me, and then, even after all of this, He continues to love me deeper and deeper every day, not just through the good things, the good days like today, but through the not-so-good things, the things that really hurt.
So when days like this one come around, and I’m blessed with some small glance of what heaven might possibly feel like, I learn to treasure it, and I honestly can’t see it as anything other than God showing just how much He loves me.
I woke up early and got changed into my athletic clothes. I walked out of the dorms and down Myrtle Ave., listening to Kutless, strolling through the sunlight and the refreshing spring air, thinking about how unreal the beauty of my surroundings were. God is just so…oh my goodness I just can’t describe Him. I still haven’t found, and probably never will find, a single word that accurately describes my God. Indescribable.
I walked to Walgreens and bought some things, and on the way back, I walked past this place called Mr Coco’s. Outside were all sorts of beautiful fruits, from strawberries to grapes and guavas to pineapples. I checked the prices, and I bought a quart of strawberries.
When I got back to campus, white balloons and groups of students wearing name tags covered the grounds, and I remembered it was Accepted Students Day. How odd is it that, just a year ago, I was one of those students? Hm.
I packed my duffel bag, put the strawberries into four bags, grabbed some water bottles, and headed out. The sun felt fantastic.
I got to Jenny and Rebecca’s house early, before going to play soccer. Rebecca and I had a good talk about random things. We ate pretzels and rinsed the strawberries (I honestly didn’t realize rinsing fruit before you ate it was a thing, so I’m glad she pointed it out to me). I left the house with Rebecca challenging me to crush Edward. I took the challenge and was determined to do so. A little after one I went to meet Edward so we could go play soccer.
We had tried to get more people to come play, and I had begged on several occasions my friends to please come, but it ended up just being me and Edward. The two of us walked to the soccer fields, enjoying the sunshine.
When we arrived, I saw one of the ladies from Bible study, who was there with Lexi for soccer practice. I stopped and talked to her for a little while, giving her a bag of strawberries. She’s wonderful and sweet 🙂
So, before we even started playing, Edward had been talking to a younger boy named Muhammed, probably younger than Jimmy, and his mother. His mom asked if he could play with us, and both of us said yes.
And that commenced one of the most fun Saturday afternoons I’ve had in a very long time.
We did passing drills, free kicks, penalty kicks, one-on-one, corner kicks, and tons and tons of running. Out of everything we did, it was entirely obvious that Edward out-skilled me by much, and I had definitely lost. About half way through the two-hour soccer ordeal, we saw that Muhammed’s mother was buying him an icee from one of the carts nearby. Edward asked if I wanted one but I declined.
We quickly found out that Muhammed’s mother had bought all of us icees, and we were very grateful 🙂
By the end, I was exhausted. My legs were scraped up and sore, my chest on fire, and my blood boiling. But oh! it felt so good to run around like a crazy person.
I walked back to Jenny and Rebecca’s to shower up, and as I walked my body not-so-kindly reminded me that I haven’t played soccer in a very long time. Edward and I planned to play soccer again next Saturday and maybe make a habit out of it, hoping to get more people to join us.
I took a shower and, when Rebecca asked me, very shamefully told her that no, I had not won. But I had a great time 🙂
After showering and taking a twenty-minute nap (because by this time I’m completely beat), I headed back out to go to The Village with Edward. We had planned this day to be this way packed full of stuff, because neither of us were doing anything…well, I would’ve been a dorm hermit, but that’s about it 🙂
Anyway, on the train we decided against The Village and instead went to Chinatown and then Little Italy. Chinatown, I learned very quickly, is basically a place to learn how to say “No thank you.” We bought bananas and sweet cakes as we walked along sidewalks filled with vendors trying to sell handbags, rolexes, sunglasses, and the like. Chinatown was nothing like I thought it would be, mostly just a trap for tourists, unfortunately. Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t go by myself.
Eventually we came upon Little Italy, and this experience, like this morning, was absolutely unreal. As we walked through the narrow streets, past restaurants strung with Christmas lights and couples romancing with glasses of red wine, I had “Bella Notte” running through my head and my heart and writer’s mind were going haywire. At one point we passed by a restaurant where two people were sitting at a table outside and an accordion player serenaded them as they ate.
I listened to Edward talk about Italy, about culture, about architecture, and I soaked in the words and the sounds and the smells and the surroundings like a sponge. I talked to God as we walked, thanking Him for Edward, for Jenny and Rebecca, for all of my friends who encouraged me in His way, and even those who didn’t. I thanked Him for this last week and the happiness that, thought probably temporary, infected everything in my world. I just felt so overwhelmed with how unworthy of it all I was.
As the afternoon sun began to set, Edward and I headed to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a place I’d always wanted to go to, a walk I’d always wanted to take. I enjoyed seeing all of the tourists taking pictures, the bikers singing to let people know they were coming through, the vendors, and the view of the cityscape as well as Seaport.
By the time we reached the other side of the bridge, my legs and ankles were giving up on me, so we hopped on a bus and headed home. I walked in to find Jenny frustrated with electronics but excited to see me, and I felt like I was home.
The hours following were filled with laughter, food, corny jokes, and stories. Rebecca came in and we had even more laughs and stories to share. Eventually my mind and body gave out completely, but I let them go willingly, because my heart was at peace and worry wasn’t a friend of mine anymore. I don’t mean to say God is good only in the good times like now. God is always good, even in the times when everything is bad. But I just want to say God is good…
God is good.