"What does it take to do my job in NYC?"
I usually see this as code for how much money do you need to live in NYC?
I've had to ask myself this question differently as my wife and I prepare for our first child and I desire to be an emotionally healthy husband and parent and not perpetrate the same wounds onto another generation of women in my family. And my normal response begins based on Google suggestions, little self-reflection and a series of "I don't really need..." statements. The person I'm speaking with changes the subject away from plastic, glass and embroidered things and I successfully evaded their questions with well-rehearsed thoughts on stewardship.
To be honest, to live in NYC, we need really good health insurance. My body takes a beating moving heavy boxes, going up and down subway steps with a backpack and staying in shape. I really should go to the dentist twice a year before my teeth hurt and get a physical before it's painful to just sit down. And to admit that I'm not superman I need individual and group therapy to address the emotional issues I have with physical affection, abandonment and attachment so that I can thrive not just get by in a city that is infamous for residents who celebrate anxiety, wage slavery, and not sleeping. I must admit that to say, "I'm killing it" really means "I'm killing myself." To say that "I'm grinding" really means I'm the one being crushed and that dust that I'm supposedly leaving all the "slow, ineffective" people in is just a poor screen for me as I try to find my identity in activity because my Mom has passed away and my Father never told me who I was. Yea, good insurance that includes counseling and therapy.
I need a community willing to be with me even when we're not "working" and not celebrate my accomplishments before rebuking me for not having a sabbath. Folks that ask me "how I'm doing" not "what I'm doing" and call me out when my answer isn't genuine. I need people that don't think it's crazy to fight against racism, climate change, homelessness, and labor and sexual slavery and fight for too many types of reform even if they haven't seen the documentary because they love me and I need them to be there for me because the pain of the injustice I encounter is too much sometimes not to fight.
And I need the discipline to take all the amazing things that I've received, delight in them and be glad. Because if I don't actually slow down to be grateful and relish in God's grace then none of it actually matters because I won't even experience them. And that's the hard part. Stopping to be grateful and enjoy because I actually have all of this. God has been and will be faithful to me amidst the pain of death, sadness and loss and in great joy and triumph.
So, today I'm truly grateful for health insurance, His blessed community, and the discipline to praise Him for all of this provision in this city.
A special thank you especially to all of those who made this last season of grieving and transition and amazing ministry opportunities possible. I speak for myself, Priscilla, Snow Bear and the little one on the way, when I say thank you for your generosity in giving your time, money, energy and wisdom to us for His Glory. Peace, joy and freedom be over you and yours.