I came to New York to watch a close friend of mine perform in a play. On the train ride there, I was looking out the window watching the various scenes and moments pass me by, some slower than others, some so fast I barely recognized them. As I sat there, I realized the train ride was very much like my own life, as some seemed to last forever, while others went by so fast I wonder if they ever really happened at all. A collection of different scenes and moments passing by, only in my life, I'm actually in them...
Whenever I come to NY, I feel the energy of the city surround me in profound ways. As my heart beats a little faster, I am reminded that scenes and moments are everywhere I look. I always feel just a little more alive here than I do anywhere else. Little everyday scenes are somehow etched in my heart and fleeting moments can become eternal life lessons. And like all great adventures, the thing that brings us here isn't always the reason why we came.
I put on my "What Would Thoreau Do?" t-shirt and took myself for a Sunday afternoon stroll into the city. My first stop was Saint Patrick's Cathedral, where I sat inside for about 30 minutes in pew number 33 (I'm still superstitious after all these years). I watched all the different people inside. It was extra busy this particular Sunday and I had a feeling it was less the words of St. Bernard and more the grueling heat outside that brought so many into the air conditioned cathedral -- but then again, it didn't really matter what got everyone in. We were all together, inside a stunning air conditioned work of art. Perhaps getting just a little bit closer to what it was we may have actually come in for.
Before long, I made my way back out onto busy Fifth Avenue and soon found myself in the real heart of the city, Central Park. As I walked through the park, I was suddenly remembering the many wonderful memories I had collected there over the years. It was not unlike the train ride in, as so many scenes and moments began passing me by.
With every step, I could feel my heart beat just a little bit faster in my chest and as it did, I knew in that moment I was alive. I walked to Strawberry Fields and I sat down to actually feel what was going on within. It wasn't long before a man came and sat down on the bench beside me. I looked over at him and said "How are you?" He paused for a second, looked down and said "I've had better days. I just came to share some love." I looked down myself, saw the question on my t-shirt and allowed myself to feel his words. They seemed to mirror the state of my own soul on that Sunday afternoon.
He pulled out a guitar and started to sing "Imagine" -- as a singer myself, a part of me wanted to join in, but I didn't. After all, I had created my own scene in a cab ride downtown the night before, singing to my driver the whole way to Tribeca. This was his moment.
People continued coming and going about as he sang, some actually stopping long enough to receive some of his love. I sat there in silence witnessing the simple scene he was creating and when he finished playing, I looked over at him and said, "Thank you. That was beautiful."
Without missing a beat, he looked me straight in the eye and said "For you, 10 dollars." As I got up to leave, I reached into my pocket and I placed a 20 dollar bill in his guitar case. I walked away and I smiled. I knew in my heart that wasn't just something Thoreau would do. John Lennon would have too.