Ignoring My Mom's Advice {Podcast and Giveaway!}

March 26, 2018

"Can I hug you?" She asked excitedly as she practically vibrated with happiness.

I eyed-balled the New York City native warily, considering, once again, how wrong I was in my perception of New Yorkers before giving her a hug. I'd helped her out, but my small kindness didn't warrant hugging a complete stranger, even by Minnesota Nice standards. And she was just the tip of the ice berg when it came to New Yorkers and unexpected kindness.  

Our family trip to New York City was filled with misadventures of over-the-top kindness in ways that made me laugh even as I began to rethink all the stereotypes of New Yorkers I've clung to over the years. 

But it wasn't until I was rather sadly descending the steps to St. Paul's Cathedral, having discovered it's massive wooden doors locked up tight, that I discovered that ignoring my mom's usually sound advice was one of the best decisions I made on that trip, opening us up to the kindest of all the kind acts we encountered in the Big Apple.  

I had no sooner started back down the sidewalk, giving up on the hope to slip inside those massive stone walls that I heard a "ppppsssssssssstttttttt" from an older model car parked on the street next to me. (Cue the dangerous music heard in every single scary movie scene, ever. You know, the one in which the heroine makes the almost fatally wrong choice and everyone in the audience knows it.) Turning back warily toward the sound with my mom's Warnings of Bad Things screaming in my mind, the Nicest Man in The World pointed my family to a small side door tucked quietly in St. Paul's stone walls at street level, explaining that he had witnessed my thwarted attempts to enter and telling us we had about 10 minutes before he had to lock up the building.

Thanking him even as I silently thanked God that I had obeyed the nudge to turn back to speak to him, we slipped inside the side door and down a quiet hallway until we reached the door to the sanctuary threshold.  

Inside was a masterpiece of plaster and stained glass circa 1808 - a riot of color and Jesus and wonder so big that my entire family stood transfixed for several moments before we silently moved inside to explore.

You see, I had steeled my tender mid-western heart for this trip to the Big City, bracing myself for interactions with people who are brisk and abrupt, straight shooters who are unafraid of conflict, people who are in a rush and without patience for gawkers from Flyover Country.

I've heard all the stories, and much to my chagrin, I believed them. I forgot for a moment that we humans are messy, nuanced creatures, not all good or all bad, incapable of accurate description by sweeping stereotypes.

I went to New York City fully expecting to meet a certain type of person, and time and again, New Yorkers showered extraordinary, out-of-their-way kindness on my family that blew every one of my stereotypes out of the water. 

And isn't that just like God? He confronts our wrong-thinking head on, giving us example after example until we surrender,  acknowledging our mistaken assumptions even as we are reminded that God can use anything and anyone to accomplish his goals - even brisk New Yorkers who forever won the hearts of a mid-western family.

Friends - we are so excited to share our conversation with the lovely Lauren Gaskill from the Finding Joy podcast. You can hear our conversation right here. AND, we're giving away a copy of our book! We share all the giveaway details during the podcast. 


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