God has a wicked (as in SUPER COOL) sense of humor.

Texas and Philly are two places I have often said I could die not having visited at all (Texas) or again (Philadelphia).  Both of which God has used to be a balm over the past couple of weeks.

Wicked sense of humor friends, wicked.

ha!

It was not until I landed in NYC, did I learn Philadelphia would be how I would receive Thursday and Friday morning. Wednesday night I had decided I would not make the trip to the city of brotherly love. Tired, unsettled about some things and not really wanting to walk the streets of Philadelphia that had soaked up the blood of my 32-year old cousin in 2004, I had decided to choose not to board the Amtrak train Philly bound.

What changed my mind?

My desire not to waste money, Ciona’s promise I would be able to take some nice pictures, time with my dad and the possibility of a visit with my friend Shane.

I got on the 3 pm train to Philadelphia and just like every other day of this sabbatical journey, God had a few surprises up the sleeve.

One was a big hug before Friday morning prayer at The Simple Way and a breakfast visit with my friend Shane.

Shane and I have known each other for about 10 years now, and for 10 years his neighborhood has been a source of challenge, inspiration and encouragement as I have sought to faithfully follow the Love of my life. Today was the first time I received time walking Potter Street and the storied blocks of north Philadelphia where my friend calls home.

It was all so good. I got to of course meet some beautiful folks who shine as I sat on the front steps at 7:30 am in the morning waiting for the door to open, entered into Shane’s home, prayed at one of The Simple Way community houses and walked the streets seeing some of the life God is breathing into the Potter Street area.

It was nice to sit and catch up on life since we were last together. To hear about new loves, struggles, joys, losses, callings, stirrings and ways of loving God & our neighbor as we love ourselves. For about 3 hours the place (Philadelphia) that gave way to one of my deepest wounds, also gave way to my soul being touched by the balm of Gilead through holy friendship & the fruit of people who daily practice resurrection.
This particular Friday morning, walking and driving the streets of Philadelphia was a gift.  I look forward to the day these feet make it back.

Now I am back in NYC, sitting in a Starbucks located in Columbus Circle surrounded by the sweet sounds of the concrete jungle. Mouth smiling and soul vibing to rhythm of the city that never sleeps, thanks to the gift of a new friend and brother in Christ who gifted me with a great place to rest this night in the heart of one of my favorite cities.
When this week began this day was not even in my imagination. I could not have created or imagined this kind of beauty for myself.
Oh, and boy was it beautiful!
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