In October I was fortunate to have a month-long sabbatical. I am grateful for the grace that my church gave to me to allow me this time to step away. Part of that time was spent in New York City as part of the pursuit of my Doctor of Ministry. This sabbatical time allowed me to make significant progress, and I am deeply grateful.
“…give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
#6 – “Five-story walk-up” in New York City is the same kind of saying as “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity” in Houston.” Only locals really appreciate how terrible the reality behind such an innocuous saying actually is! When I was told that I was staying in a “five-story walk-up” I envisioned a place that had no parking, so I would have to “walk-up” the street to get to it. I could not have been more wrong! Every building in Manhattan is a “walk-up” like I imagined. Parking is extremely scarce. But when a New Yorker says, “five-story walk-up,” they aren’t describing the walk outside the building. They are describing how many flights of stairs are required inside the building…without an elevator! Eighty, narrow, creaky steps separated the landing in the entryway and the landing on the fifth floor where my room was. Eighty steps down in the morning to go to breakfast. Eighty steps up to get my bag and books. Eighty steps down…plus another fifteen to get down to the basement for our seminar meetings. Eighty plus fifteen back up to put my computer away and change for the afternoon interviews. Eighty down to meet with my cohort to walk to the subway. Eighty back up to change for dinner. Eighty back down to go to dinner. Eighty back up to go to bed. If you haven’t been counting, that is six hundred and seventy steps! That does not include the steps from the street to the building and all the steps up and down in the subway. Living in Houston, I never quite got used to the humidity, and I’m sure that if I were to live in NYC I would never quite get used to all the stairways!
I am thankful though. My legs haven’t been in this good of shape since I played high school soccer! That’s the way it works sometimes. The thing you dread and find most difficult can become a source of strength. Maybe that’s why the Lord commands us to “give thanks in everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He is able to see the strength being formed through the pain and difficulty. Saying, “thank you” for a “five-story walk-up” or for humidity in Houston or whatever difficult circumstance you are facing may be the most powerful step of faith that you can take today. That is a “step” worth taking six hundred and seventy times every day!
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