I love the creative way God reveals things to us sometimes, how sometimes He orders our steps in an unusual way so that the day reveals something significant to you. One way I know God is creative and artistic–I mean, apart from creating the heavens and the earth and the trees and the vast expanse of the universe and stuff–is that He seems to have a flair for the dramatic. For those of you who are tracking our personal journey here, I’d like to share the events of such a day–one that happened just a few days ago.
The day began with the mother of all coughing spells. (I was recovering from a cold, so…) I was about to leave the apartment to go do my morning writing at one of my hangouts. I’m a creature of habit, but for some reason, instead of going to one of three coffee places I typically frequent, I decided to look for someplace new, maybe a little closer (in case I started coughing again and needed to get home). Looking on Google Maps, I discovered a coffee place a few minutes’ walk away; not sure why I hadn’t taken note of it before, except it was in a direction I don’t usually walk. Once the cough medicine had kicked in, I decided to give it a try.
The coffee shop was in this interesting cluster that was a combination of industrial warehouses and shops. It turned out to be this surprisingly cool little hipster joint–the kind that doesn’t offer flavoring in the coffee, and whose background music consists of a collection of classic vinyl records. There was an open booth by the window, so I settled in to get some work done.
A few minutes in, I gazed out the window for a moment at this warehouse looking building across the street, and noticed there on the corner was a sign: Steiner Studios. Intrigued, I decided to look it up online.
It turned out to be the largest full-scale film/TV production lot outside of Hollywood.
I looked at the credits on the website: Bridge of Spies. Wolf of Wall Street. Vinyl. Girls. Major production after major production had used this facility for filming. This warehouse was the tip of the iceberg to a huge complex with multiple sound stages, prop rooms, the works.
I was so entranced that for awhile I couldn’t get any work done. I was so curious, and I kept staring across the street wondering how I could find a way in there.
After I finished working, I went home and told The Wild One and The Director what I’d seen. I’d noticed a little Italian place at the same corner, so we decided to walk over there to have lunch so they could see the studio. We sat in the outdoor section, just staring across the street at the complex entrance, talking about it and wondering about it out loud. As if to put an exclamation point on the whole experience–Josh and I didn’t see who it was, but The Wild One swears that she saw Elijah Wood walk out of the complex and stop and look over the posted menu at our restaurant before walking down the street.
Now, this may seem like just an interesting story to some, but to me it was an incredible moment of significance because of the context. You see, I’m a naturally cautious person, and I’d had some misgivings about the apartment we’d rented simply because it was only the second one we’d looked at, and it wasn’t in an area that I was particularly fond of. We decided to rent it because it was a great use of space for what we needed as a family, and it seemed like maybe God had set it aside for us; but I had wondered if we kind of rushed into it–mainly because apartments are such a commodity in NYC and we were concerned it would rent out before we made up our minds.
And yet, here on this day, by venturing a little bit off my normal pattern, I’d discovered a major studio complex I didn’t even know existed, located within a 7-minute walk of our apartment. I don’t know yet how significant it is, or how one thing will lead to the next–but I do have the sense that it is significant. (As a reminder, we moved here so The Director could find opportunities in film, and so I could find opportunities in film music.)
And that’s not the only moment of significance that’s happened since then. To expand the context…it was while we were eating in the restaurant that it came up on the TV news screens in the bar that Prince had died–another tragic loss of a legend. However, the next day it came up in my news feed that the night before, film director Spike Lee had hosted a block party near Fort Greene Park, where he has his own production facility, to honor Prince and his music.
When I read this, I was dumbfounded because the following thought process went through my mind: Fort Greene Park is also within walking distance of our apartment. Which means Spike Lee’s production studio is also in my neighborhood. How many other film people have production studios in my neighborhood???
Now can you see why this seems like such a significant revelation in context?
In a place as vast and overwhelming as New York City, coming into it with no real prior sense of connection, it’s easy to feel lost, very small and utterly swallowed up, even if you came with a purpose in mind. So many times since arriving here, I’ve had to fight those moments of fear and self-doubt. So many times I’ve simply had to make a decision to believe that God is ordering our steps, even if I don’t know where we’re going, exactly. It’s times like these that bring me great courage because I can see tangible ways in which God is truly ordering our steps. I initially didn’t even want to live in this neighborhood, and now the veil is lifted, and I can see that we are sitting in a hotspot of film production. Just the kind of place where The Director and I need to be.
Again, I don’t know what will come of it. But I’m definitely interested to find out.