I love watching people, especially the way they walk. Everyone has a natural stride. Everyone has something embedded in their step – a movement, swagger, slide, hip twist, or personal way of being uniquely ramrod stiff. It is as if our walk tells part of our story. Each is unique in its own way. Even as one denies the story’s existence the wonder of what we have told others haunts us long after our words have disappeared.
In New York one finds the walk augmented by hats, coats, shoes, purses, and even the occasional pet. It is incredible! People out on display, telling their stories, unaware of how inconsistent their personal view is from what you and I see, here, and understand. Across the city the stories vary. From the flash in the Bronx, to the stereotypes of Queens and Brooklyn, to the varieties found in the different neighborhoods of Manhattan. I know there are incredible varieties in the four boroughs outside of Manhattan; I find myself overwhelmed by the stories found in the neighborhoods I spend most of my time.
New York’s Lower East Side is a mix of old and new, young and old, traditional and those exploring the far boundaries beyond anything we might call norm. It many ways the scene is energetic. If one approaches if from traditional norms it is easy to reach the conclusion that “they'll roar and roar and roar on that Day, like the roar of ocean billows. Look as long and hard as you like at that land, you'll see nothing but darkness and trouble. Every light in the sky will be blacked out by the clouds.” (Isaiah 5.30) Yet there is more to the story than meets the eye.
I have, and continue to find incredible example of grace, mercy, and unconditional acceptance. I am trying to see if there is something shared in the personal stories of these examples. I also wonder if my story is another example of the beauty I find. Regardless of yesterday’s history, today is a new opportunity to paint a picture.
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