Category Archives: NYC 2017

Three Things to Remember When Facing Regret

Recently my brother and I found ourselves in NYC, on a trip we had dreamed about for years and planned for months. I couldn’t believe we were actually—finally—in New York City. Every step was exciting, every obscure building a photo op.

As the days flew by, I quickly realized things I wished we had done differently. For instance, we didn’t plan as much time for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum as I would have liked, and we had to speed through the last exhibits in the Museum. I also wished we had called our hotel ahead of time to ask about baggage storage after checkout; had we known about that cheap option we would have chosen later flights on our departure day and had one last sightseeing opportunity.

At some point in life, each of us will have regrets about harder things than travel plans. Most of us already do. When the what-ifs and if-onlys in plague our memories, here are three things it helps to remember.

We Are Not Perfect

We will not lead perfect lives. We are not strong enough or wise enough to do everything right, and to be human is to belong to that globally inclusive club of Those Who Mess Things Up. As Christians, we know that one of the Gospel’s central truths is that we will never be perfect—and we don’t have to be.

It is one of the ironic things of life that this truth is more liberating than condemning. Since we know that we and everyone around us will fail sometimes, it is not as much of a shock to us when we do.

God is Bigger Than Our Failures

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).

No matter how serious our mistakes and problems, they cannot be greater than the power, grace, and love of God. Far from it: our greatest failure became His deepest gift of redemption. I mean, really. Think you’ve messed things up? Talk to Adam and Eve in the garden, with fruit juice staining their hands and nakedness taunting their conscience.

He knows our hearts. He knows we will never be perfect on our own. No matter how many mistakes and failures occur between now and heaven, our imperfections are covered by His perfect grace.

Because our perfection no longer depends on what we do.

When We Fail We Lose Nothing

So we should have done it differently, and we didn’t. We may be frustrated with our own ineptness, or, in a more serious situation, grieve what could have been had we done things right. We may need to apologize and seek forgiveness, depending on the mess we made this time.

But then we move on. We don’t have to live in that failure, or build up layers of restitution until we earn our way out of debtor’s prison. All the important things are still true, untouched by our inability and failure and stupidity.

God is still on His throne. We are still His people. He is still writing our story and everyone else’s, and no matter what glitch we think we caused in this chapter, He has already made it into something good that we will see with time.

Our faith is founded (partially) on our failure to be good. Catch that? Our faith is founded on our failure. Through the sacrificial death of Christ, our perfection is found in our identity with Him. Our failures can’t touch that.

In all those little and not-so-little messes of our own making, our identity stands strong and firm in the righteousness gifted to us by Christ. We don’t lose any standing with God or drop a rung on the ladder to heaven. Our relationship with Him is a gift, and will stay that way regardless of our stumblings.

When Those Regrets Come

As we travel through life, there will be problems in the journey. Dreams-come-true morph into mild disasters and our best efforts disintegrate into Have-I-Ever-Told-You stories.

We will have regrets. As we lay them at the feet of the God who sees our faltering efforts and knows our weak human hearts, we can trust He will keep us from stumbling too far and that His grace can cover all our if-onlys. Each of our regrets drives us to Him who does all things well, and who welcomes us with all our failures still attached.

New York City!

My brother and I have both talked about visiting New York City and how amazing that would be. I was thrilled we were able to go together last week!

I took so many pictures. So many. Only a fraction of them are in this post, but if you ever want to see more (and have a couple of hours to spare) I’d love to tell you all about it! In the meantime, enjoy a little peak into our adventure…

Saturday

We landed in NYC Saturday afternoon, and spent some time walking around, getting a MetroCard, finding a place to eat, and checking in. Our first tourist stop was the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the Freedom Tower.

The huge memorials, at the site of each of the fallen towers, continually have water running down the sides into the large square in the middle. The lights at night were beautiful, and it was all a very touching tribute.

Inside the Museum were many physical examples and reminders of the tragedy, as well as photo slideshows and audio memories of the victims, as recorded by their family and friends. Many fire stations in NYC have memorials on their walls.

Sunday

After church Sunday morning, we spent the afternoon exploring Central Park and Times Square. I loved Central Park so much.

The weather was gorgeous. We found a sunny spot in this meadow and ate hot dogs from a hot dog stand.

Times Square has everything! I had never known that it actually covers a couple of “squares” or blocks. So many people!

Yes. Everything. Look at all these M&Ms!

Monday

Monday was rainy, rainy, rainy. Thankfully, we had great weather the rest of our trip, but Monday was so very wet. My thoughtful brother let me use the mini umbrella, but even then we tried to be inside as much as possible. We checked with several Broadway shows before getting tickets for Phantom of the Opera and we explored the Wall Street area. We tried to eat at DŌ, a cookie dough dessert store, but when we got there we learned it was closed on Mondays.

We ended our second full day with a brief trip to the American Museum of Natural History, or the Night at the Museum museum, if you’d rather. We had a great time racing through the exhibits before closing, looking for as many Night at the Museum references as we could find!

Tuesday

One of the things that surprised me about NYC was how not busy it was. Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of people in New York, and traffic can be crazy! But going with the understanding that it is busy and there are a lot of people, it really wasn’t as ridiculously crowded as I had imagined. We were always able to find a spot on the subway (even if we sometimes had to stand up), we didn’t bump into people as much as I thought we would, and the lines typically weren’t long at all.

Except at the Statue of Liberty.

We stood in a l-o-n-g line to board the ferry (though we were on the ferry exactly at the time our ticket said we would be), then had to funnel through the security line, then had to go through more security at the island, then had to get in line for the next ferry, then the next ferry…

But it was so worth it. The Statue of Liberty is an iconic representation of freedom and, well, liberty. I loved it.

And its views of Manhattan are lovely!

(The Brooklyn Bridge before our Statue of Liberty tour.)

I never knew that the Statue was recognized as a worldwide symbol. Very cool!

We didn’t spend nearly as much time at Ellis Island, but it was very interesting! At its peak, over 5,000 people would pass through this room every day.

That night we went to see Phantom of the Opera. It was very well done!

Wednesday

Our last day in NYC was packed! We toured the Intrepid, an aircraft carrier and now museum. As part of the museum, we also toured a submarine (Growler) and saw the space shuttle Enterprise.

Our last major thing to do on our trip was to see the New York view from Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center. It was beautiful weather and we had a hard time convincing ourselves it was time to go back down and eat dinner.

  1. It was such a treasured experience to do and see and visit all of this with my brother. We will always remember this.

If you ever get the chance to go to NYC, do it. We made so many memories and it will be a treasured experience for years to come!