A year ago I came to visit you for the first time and my heart was closed off to you. You see, I was here on a mission, to work. I was processing heartbreak and that trip was my first time traveling to a place I did not know, alone. I explored you the way a tourist would. Empire State Building, pizza, Central Park, and a Broadway show. I explored you, but I did not see you. For that I apologize. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching since I was last here and today I came with an open heart.
I am currently reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. As I sat on the plane reading this book my heart cracked open to the vulnerability, love, angst, and feelings of pain every person on this earth seems to have in common. As a tear trickled down my face I put my book away and looked with intent at the people surrounding me. I saw two one year olds from different worlds share joyous laughter with one another as their mother’s talked about their sleeping patterns while flying. I saw a mother, and a wife, choose patience over frustration as she spent the entire flight taking care of her two children and her sick husband. I saw this sick man stay calm while he had an accident during the flight. I didn’t even realize he had an accident until he got up to leave the plane and his seat was wet. For five hours us strangers sat on a plane together with one common goal, to get to you, New York.
There’s this beauty that you behold. So magical that many spend an abhorrent amount of money to live out here while struggling to make ends meet. You, beautiful city, are worth every day of struggle to these people because you open up a world never thought possible to many. Tonight I chose to see that side of you. When I landed at JFK I was greeted with rain, so instead of staying locked up in my hotel tonight I chose to walk outside and feel the sky’s tears fall gently on my face. Your towering buildings felt like a cozy blanket wrapped around me while the rain drops felt like the perfect cleansing to my soul.
As the sun set and the drops continued to fall, I made my way to Central Park. The last time I set foot in this majestic fortress of yours it was hot, humid, and I had a plane to catch. I wasn’t here to see your greenery, but rather check something off of my list. Tonight as I set foot onto the paths that wound intrinsically through the grand canopies I could not help but lay my heart at your feet and surrender to what you wanted me to see. I saw the towers peaking through the trees reminding us that in a fast moving city there is a spot to be tranquil and leave behind the woes of yesterday. I stopped and read about Shakespeare, Columbus, and many others on your Literary Walk. I walked down to your lake and watched the turtles swim about. The reds and browns that covered their shells were vibrant through the murky waters. I didn’t just explore you this time, I saw you. Every corner I turned, every new path I walked, I took the time to stop, listen, smell, and see what you were telling my heart.
I finished my walk around your enchanting forest with the most spectacular spectacle of all. You brought me upon a group of people drumming and trumpeting to their own beat. These souls were filled with such joy that I stopped, closed my eyes, and felt the spine tingly chords they were producing. These are your people. The ones who see your worth, your beauty, your magic. My soul was meant to be there tonight. I came with my heart wide open to what you had to show me and I left with a love for you that I never knew could have existed. Thank you for giving me a second chance at truly seeing what you were all about. These next few days that I am here I will leave my eyes and my heart open to what you have to show me. And when I leave, I will do so with a little more magic in my heart because you made my heart better by just being you. Thank you!