It’s no secret that I love New York.
That makes no sense to many, but to others, it’s a no brainer. But my heart is there for a number of reasons that may surprise you.
Over this weekend I spent some time in the Big Apple. Part of the trip was for business, but in my heart, it was to work on the final chapter of my new book.
The story takes place in Africa, and is an adventure, thriller, intrigue and romance novel. As you can imagine, I draw upon my years with Gwen and our escapades together.
As I spent the weekend running on the Bridle Path in Central Park (one of my favorite things to do), sitting on my secluded and little known Shakespeare bench near the castle, and walking the trails in the sunshine as children shrieked and chased each other, I felt Gwen right beside me.
It’s true that she and I didn’t spend much time in Central Park while she was ill, but she wanted to. We talked about the day when she would be well enough to come to the park, spread a blanket on the ground, and enjoy a picnic lunch together while watching one of the many baseball games that frequented sunny days, but it never happened.
The closest we came to the park was on a warm, sunny afternoon. She wore a bright green jumpsuit and white sneakers. Her hair was gone, but her blond wig was adorable.
We entered the park on the Upper West Side at 81st Street, by the Museum of Natural History, and walked toward the lake along West Drive.
As we made our way through the park surrounded by giggling kids and Frisbee throwers, Gwen knew in her heart it would be the last time she would ever be there.
We sat on a bench near the Central Park Zoo for her to rest. She took my hand and we listened to a magnificent violinist play Defying Gravity from the play Wicked. It was one of Gwen’s favorite pieces.
When the man was done playing, she laid her head on my shoulder and snuggled with me for a moment. Without looking up she said, “thank you for bringing me here today. I was afraid I would never see how pretty it is here.” She paused for a second, and said, “I know I’ll never come back here again, but you will. You love it here, and you need to make this part of your life.”
It was difficult to hear, and although I argued that we could return there often, she reminded me that I needed to be obedient to what God had planned.
The park has become a home away from home for me. I can’t tell you how many times I have started my day with a run on the bridle path, or gone to the Shakespeare bench for inspiration when I’m stuck on a scene.
I love New York City. It’s part of me because it’s part of her. And there is no denying the fact that I’m still very much in love.
But although I miss her every day, I will not dishonor her or God by wallowing in pity and paralysis from her absence. I trust Him even when it hurts—especially when it hurts.
When Gwen left me for a better place, she told me God was leaving me behind for a purpose—that He had work for me to do.
I will fill my days with doing all I can to accomplish that goal, wherever it may lead. I have learned that life is filled with adventure, intrigue and romance.
There is only one question before you sign up. Are you up for it?