Friday afternoon I could feel the weight of the week piling up quick, especially as I was helping direct a large group to another part of the city - down the street, into the subway, switching trains, out to the street... It is hard to stay together in the first place, plus different people walk at different paces. I began adding up the negative things, and then my roommate called.
I am immensely thankful for my roommates. Kevin and Mark were both here on the Campus Track of the project last year. They are back, like me, as summer staff interns on their track. After our responsibilities were done on Friday, we got dressed up and went down to Tribeca for dinner. We met our friend Jacques at a wonderful Argentine restaurant. Kevin and Mark had been planning this "roommate date night" for us all week (including the plan to eat cheap so we could have steak on the weekend). We all unwound from the busy week over flavors of Argentina cooked into the steak, lamb, and sausage that we shared. Afterwards, we walked a few blocks west to the Hudson River.
I always forget I'm on an island when I'm here. It is quite easy to get caught up among the advertisements and car-horns in the concrete jungle and completely neglect that fresh air and relief is always a few blocks in either direction.
We walked along the Hudson and talked about the past, our futures, relationships, New Jersey... We happened up on a group of Chinese guys fishing. After a nearly ten minute struggle, one guy reeled in a huge striper. When he finally understood what we were asking him, he said "thirty six inches." There were not many words we could share, but laughter and applause made up for it - all with the Statue of Liberty shining behind us.
When we begin to add up the negatives in life and shift the focus from others to ourselves, we must find a way to clear our head and think objectively. Often this comes from friends inviting us out of our selfishness, back to the community to which we're called.
Whatever the case, if we're willing to step out and look for it, we may find that that relief and Liberty are only a few blocks away.