Gosh, I don’t know where the time goes. Spring Break was almost a month ago. This post has been rattling around in my head since then. So here goes.
For spring break I signed up to be a chaperone for Sydney’s choir trip to New York. The trip would include 90+ high schoolers, rides on the subway, staying in Times Square and making sure no kids escaped in New York to run amuck. I’ll pause a moment to let you take that in. People laughed at me when I told them what we were doing and said things like, “YOU are going to New York? You are going to ride the subway?” When I say people I mean the people who live in this house. Sydney kept saying to me, “Mama are you sure about this? You know you are going to have to be around high school kids.” Jesse said, “You know every subway car has a drunk person on it right? And they are underground.” Now, it is well documented on this blog that I consider myself to be Lara Croft Tomb Raider, so the lack of confidence in my abilities was shocking to me. I loaded up my antibacterial gel, downloaded a New York Transit App on my phone, tucked a bunch of cash in my wallet for cabs in case we got lost, and set my sights on proving them all wrong.
I will be honest with you, the New York subway is the stuff my nightmares are made of. BUT, when you get over the smell, and the liquid coating on everything, it is manageable. By manageable I mean, I learned to pray in a new way. Plus when you have a 14 year old begging you too keep your “ish” together so you don’t embarrass her you dig deep and find a way. At one point I found myself saying, “Oh look how cute that rat is girls, he doesn’t have a tail.” I hardly knew myself. Take that Jesse.
I am going to share with you the trick I learned to deal with a school field trip that involves public transportation, hotels, sightseeing and teenagers. Ready? Thankfulness. I remember praying before Syd and I left for the trip and the word popped into my head. That is probably because thankfulness is the antidote to anxiety. That is not my idea, that comes from the bible.
Phillipians 4: 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.*
“Eucharistias” is the greek word used there for “thank.” It means the practice of being thankful. My dean at bible school taught me that word. After becoming a widow, God started teaching her the practice of thankfulness in her very deep heartache. Thankfulness is what overflows from a heart that is dependent and focused on God. Criticalness and bossiness overflow from a heart that is worried and trying to control the situation. I mean I have never experienced that but I have heard that is what happens. (And everyone who lives with me laughed and laughed)
Somewhere between the house and the airport Sydney and I decided we would practice thankfulness. Asking God for what we needed and thanking Him for what He had done. Daunting tasks like getting the kids through TSA without one of those jokers saying something that would get them arrested caused me to worry and I became bossy. The bossiness reminded me of NOT being thankful, so I prayed, “Good Lord let us make it through security.” And when we did, I said, “Lord thank you for getting us through that nightmare.” And guess what? Practicing thankfulness left a mark on me. Sydney kept asking me, “Are you ok?” Bless her, she was waiting for my anxiety to rear it’s ugly head. I hate that she feels like she has to work around that. But I am thankful that God has changed me. (See what I did there? I thankfulness juked you) And because God is powerful enough to change us, I was able to be thankful and have the best time. Now, don’t for one-second think I did not lose my mind here and there. I did. But God is gracious and merciful and walked me through those moments too. Guess what? I got to thank Him for that too. It was such a remarkable change in me because of what God is changing in me that I cannot wait to go on another trip!
Here are some highlights.
We got to see “Come From Away.” A Broadway show about the 9/11 tragedy and what the planes that were in route to the US did when the US closed its air traffic down. It was amazing! Go see it! You will learn so much. It is also a classic minimalist set and cast, but they do such a great job of making you believe they are in a plane, or a Tim Horton’s, or a school!
We also got to see Frozen on Broadway. If “Come From Away” was a minimalist set, Frozen is an over the top technologically advance set. It was amazing as well. There were little girls there that just cheered and cheered for Ana and Elsa. It was precious.
We also went to the 9/11 Museum. This was so profound I am going to tell you about it in another blog post.
We got to tour the NBC studio’s. This might have been the coolest just because I watch the Today Show, Jimmy Fallon and SNL so it was so cool to see there stages. I only got one pic, boo!
The kids got to do a workshop with some of the performers from Frozen. This was so cool to see. There is so much work that goes into learning the songs and choreography. I was shocked. What was cool was seeing the kids who really have that passion to be on broadway just dive in and learn the steps and the songs and at the end they were like, “I don’t want to leave!” We were not allow to post any recordings from that because Disney owns the world.
Above is the set of “Come from Away,” Radio City Music Hall, Us in Time Square, and us in front of some super funky art thing that I don’t remember the name of.
Above, the first two pics are the workshop, then the only pic of the NBC studios that I got, then us at Central Park.
*Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.