by Sarah Luna

Hey you, you’re a child in my head. You haven’t walked yet. Your first words have yet to be said. But I swear. You’ll be blessed.

I have had so many blessings showered on me this past week. I am in awe how directly I have been provided for.

The trip to Columbia was a gift from God. It was a time of intense reflection for me and a time to simply deepen the relationships I’ve made with people here. Our car of five left for the Big Apple Dancesport Challenge Friday afternoon. I left behind my studies, my responsibilities, my frustrations, and even my laptop in favor of a simple notebook and my Advent book. I just needed time away from everything.

I’ve made it a tradition to bring homemade cookies to competitions.

Mama Sarah they called me today. Made me smile. I look out for them, but they look out for me so much more. They don’t even realize how I depend on them.

We arrived in NYC and were welcomed into a team member’s home that doubled as an art studio and yoga studio. I’d never seen anything like it.

The next morning, after waking my friends up and throwing on subway clothes, I sat down with my Advent book and my notebook.

“What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” [1 Corinthians 4:7]

Everything is grace. My studies, my dance, my friends, my family, life. Nothing is earned. grace be humble, be grateful, be patient with others    mentor    show the same grace you received

Once my friends were ready, we set out first to the farmers’ market for breakfast and then on the subway to Columbia. (Gran, the subway map you left with me came in handy as did the MetroCards. Thank you!). SP and I got to the quarter finals in Waltz/Quickstep. Both of those dances bring me so much joy. Our tango looked pretty sharp, too.

That evening, our hosts invited us to be with them as they lit the menorah. I immediately said yes. I had never been part of that before, but I love the story of Hanukkah. As the candles were lit, I thought about how God had kept the light inside of me even when I had no oil to offer. He provided me with spiritually bold women as role models and sisters all four years at A&M (way longer than 8 days). And here in NY, I’ve had to kick myself in the pants sometimes to get myself to walk into each new church, but I am determined to find a home here in a way that I never was at A&M.  Looking at the half-lit menorah, everything suddenly clicked.

After that revelation, it was difficult to transition to something as mundane as exploring New York City by night. But I managed it. And I was in awe. With two respectful young men as escorts and two lovely ladies as companions, I felt perfectly at ease. We visited Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, Grand Central Station, and Bryant Park. That night was definitely one of the best I’ve had here.

I felt like Buddy the Elf. 🙂

The rest of the competition passed smoothly enough, and we made our way back to Ithaca and the projects and stress and finals that awaited us there. Snow greeted us as well as we wound through the mountains.

We arrived back in Ithaca on Sunday around 5pm. It was already dark and very cold. I had plans to simply curl up with a book for the rest of the night. But God wasn’t through blessing me just yet. As I climbed out of the car, SP said: “Hey, there’s a dinner tonight hosted by Campus Crusade at 6:30. Want to come?” He’s a sharp kid and had picked up fairly early on the fact that I am church-homeless. I didn’t really feel like leaving my house a mere hour after getting home (did I mention it was cold?), but I realized that that was a dumb reason not to go. So I went. And I met SO MANY PEOPLE, and built a gingerbread house, and listened to beautiful voices. And I found out when the graduate Bible study on campus is. And I was overjoyed.

I woke up Monday morning dancing.

…and you, you’ll be blessed…