The Bowery Mission
Back in September on a crisp, fall Saturday morning I decided to help out at The Bowery Mission with a few friends. I had never served at The Bowery before and was unsure of what to expect. When I arrived I sat down on one of the long, well-worn wooden pews and began to take in my surroundings – the peaceful, rich sound of the cello reverberated off the hard chapel walls as men and women trickled into the room, filling the benches around me.
As the pre-breakfast service began I noticed various scriptures on the walls. Verses from Matthew and Isaiah, specific words that have had a deep impact in my life during times of difficulty and hardship. I could tangibly feel God’s presence in the room. This was a true representation of the Church – men and women from various races and ethnicities, people hurting and in need, unified by the one thing that we all had in common, we were broken and desperate for something bigger than ourselves. I was overwhelmed by a sense of fulfillment that at that very moment I was exactly where I needed to be. I left The Bowery on a high, encouraged by the conversations I had, the message I heard and the sense of camaraderie felt among those present. Although I had only been awake for a few hours the day felt so full and complete that I could have gone straight home to bed with a big smile across my face.
In Search of Intelligentsia and Stumbling into your Future
One of my close friends was there that morning and we decided to grab a coffee and catch up since I had been out of the country for a few weeks. The East Village was still sleeping as we walked towards a local coffee shop through the quiet streets that were littered with half-eaten pizza and other debris from the night before. Along the way we stumbled upon a sign for free coffee. Free coffee is good coffee when you are no longer working, so we decided to stop in and check out the situation. Not only was there an art gallery and complementary Intelligentsia, but Cole Haan was hosting a free inspiration workshop with classes from General Assembly. The workshop was designed to encourage the audience to pursue and unlock their own visionary ideas, to follow hard after passions and personal dreams. I could not believe that we bumped into an event that I could not have created any better myself on my first weekend back in New York after leaving my job on Wall Street.
My friend and I sat in on a talk given by Charlie O’Donnell, Partner and Founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, regarding startups and finding your path. The insight that Charlie provided on personal branding caused me to completely shift how I thought about the typical job search process, focusing more on my interests, desires and talents rather than on fitting myself to a standardized job description or role. He encouraged blogging, writing newsletters on topics of interest, hosting events, becoming subject matter experts – ideas that all inspired learning and a holistic use of one’s abilities. Although I was not in the place of vulnerability to begin pursuing these avenues at the moment, Charlie’s words planted seeds in my heart and mind. I felt inspiration and ideas stirring up within.
Assurance in the Unknown
As I reflect back on that day it was almost comical how perfectly everything was orchestrated. I can still picture the large block lettering that was on the wall of the event space – HISTORY BEGINS HERE. Although a simple morning of service turned out to be an incredibly rich experience giving me a new perspective and excitement about finding my own path, I walked away with more. I felt assurance. I truly believed that my own history was being altered; this was the beginning of a new pursuit, a fresh start. I walked away with a sense of peace that my path would be made clear if I chased my passions, and a feeling that my job was simply to enjoy the process of pursuing relationships with those around me, and enjoying the adventure that each day brings. The events of that morning were a perfect example of a verse that I saw on the wall earlier that day.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34