Sunday is the Ephiphany…ya know the day the Magi finally found the Baby Jesus after their long trek. Talk about a leap of faith. “So Balthasar where are we going?” asked the other king (whose name escapes me). “He told you already we’re following that star” the third Magi reprimanded.”OY! The asking and asking you do…” Melchior and Gaspar! Those were the other two guys! Anyhoo, leap of faith….I don’t know if I could have such faith, the kind that lets you focus without doubt on an unknown journey through the desert on a camel to bring a baby in a barn gifts. Now that my friends is faith.
I moved to New York City 27 years ago this June with only one large suitcase and $500. I didn’t have a job but I secured two things prior to getting on that plane: I had rented a three month sublet on West 35th Street, sight unseen, and I was enrolled in an acting program that would begin in September. My parents tried to get me to stay home until the very last minute but I was tenacious and had some sort of instinctual notion that I needed time to acclimate to my new home. I was right. I needed that time and then some.
A couple of weeks after arriving I found a job as a Sales Associate at Saks Fifth Avenue which for a girl with a college degree seemed “beneath me”. Truth be known I hadn’t worked in too many places except for a job as a summer counselor and then a stint as a singing telegram person delivering balloon bouqets. However, my farm girl work ethic and my southern charm helped me through. Plus, after crying for about two weeks, I realized I was either going to buck-up and survive in the Big Apple, or I was going to get back on a plane and go home. I stayed, thankfully, and I lived in the city for 17 wonderful, crazy, trying, beautiful years. I love to say that living in NYC all of those years was my graduate program; it was my Harvard and my Yale. In my City that never sleeps, after many many life lessons, I met my funny and amazing husband, Karl, and our son, Harris, was born in Greenwich Village at St. Vincent’s hospital on St. Patrick’s Day. Karl screamed as I went into Labor, “Not today! You can’t have him today! It’s a drunken holiday!” Later, my Irish nurse whispered in my ear, “Can you hurry? I have to march in the St. Patty’s parade!”
The day I stepped onto that plane in 1986 I couldn’t have made up any part of my future life.
I could not have imagined the people, both infamous, ordinary, extraordinary and famous, I would meet. But I knew that I was suppose to live in New York City. Through all of my tough, dreary days, I knew in my gut that I was suppose to be there. Maybe that is the kind of faith the Magi had, the kind that gives you the chutzpah to follow a “yonder star”.