Crossing the Hudson River.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Isaiah 43:2a

The Hudson River stretches a length of 315 miles from north eastern New York down to New York City and forms part of the New York-New Jersey border.

During the American Revolution, both sides battled for control over the Hudson River. 

And just recently, a few more battles were fought along its banks…

My youngest daughter was accepted into The School of American Ballet for a five-week summer intensive course. The school is located in Lincoln Center on Manhattan Island, about a ten-hour drive from our home in North Carolina.

Battle # 1:

We’d reserved the second story of a condo in Weehawken, New Jersey, for the weekend. Silly me. Somehow I expected to slide right into a parking space in front of the place. But parking is, shall I say, rather limited when one arrives on a late Saturday night in Jersey.

After three passes up and down extremely narrow, one-way streets, with cars parked sentry on either side, I tossed up a travel-weary prayer.

“God, I need a parking space.”

And He delivered, as someone suddenly fired up their engine and wheeled away from the curb not too far from where we were staying.

Battle # 2:

Crossing the Hudson River-picmonkeyThe following day, I took my first glance at the Hudson River and did a left-right sweep of the acclaimed Manhattan skyline on the opposite side.

Huh. How to cross that thing with all three of us toting what felt like a barge-load of ballerina luggage? Crossing the Hudson River-2-picmonkey

After an intense trek down 244 metal steps (my husband kept count), the suitcase wheels clunking clunking clunking, we came to the Jersey port authority and traversed the river via ferry onto Manhattan Island.

“…when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Isaiah 43:2a

Battle # 3:

Reassuring my anxious ballerina whose face became increasingly ashen as we neared the New York shore and fear of the unknown began to choke.

So, get going! I’ll be right there with you…Exodus 4:12a (The MSG)

Battle # 4:

Navigating the thriving, crowded city streets, clutching my purse with one hand and my husband’s hand with the other Crossing the Hudson River-5-picmonkeyso as not to be separated. Forever.

There were the homeless and desperate dotting the street corners with their cardboard signs and dozing in the pew of St. Patrick’s cathedral. Crossing the Hudson River-4-picmonkeyGuilt and sorrow battled within.

I fought against dropping my jaw each time we perused a menu outside a restaurant, searching for reasonable prices. Reasonable? You’re in New York, sister.

I battled against the cacophony of noise and blaring advertisements and the smell of horse manure and rotting trash. Hints of rich leather, expensive perfumes, and spicy chili dogs were welcome.

Battle # 5:

Finding the right bus to return us back to Weehawken, NJ…in the rain…at night. And hushing concerns for whether or not the ole’ Lincoln Tunnel through which we traveled beneath the Hudson was well maintained.

Crossing the Hudson River-6-picmonkey

Surely it is, isn’t it?

Battle # 6:

Leaving my daughter for several weeks, trusting in the goodness of God not to deny me – or her – the need to experience hard things.

For in and through them, I grow. And there I find that God is always present – and always has been – during the rising waters and rushing rivers of life. Long before the American Revolution. Indeed, ever since the beginning.

Maybe that’s a good word for the homeless guy.

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