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Willing to Be Blessed in New York City

A surprise visitor reminded an unemployed Manhattan resident that life is filled with unexpected opportunities for gratitude.

A residential street on Manhattan's west side
Credit: Brett Leveridge
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On a weekday afternoon some years ago, I was sitting alone in my small one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s west side when someone buzzed me from down­stairs. As I wasn’t expecting a visitor, I assumed it was the post­man seeking admission to the building. I made my way over to the front door of my flat and pressed the button on the intercom.

“Yes?”

“Hello. I work for the television show Law & Order. We’re doing some location scouting for some in­terior scenes, and I wonder if you might be willing to let me see your apartment.”

Here was an unexpected request. I live on a lovely block in a historic district, so quite a bit of filming does take place in my neighborhood, but it certainly never occurred to me that someone might consider my humble abode as a location for a TV drama.

I buzzed the man in, and after we introduced ourselves at my front door, I stepped aside to allow him to enter. As he looked around, my mind began to race, thinking of what it might mean if my apartment was chosen for filming.

I had been laid off from my posi­tion at an e-commerce company some months before, and I hadn’t yet had any luck finding a new job. I’d once read that TV shows and movies paid generously to use pri­vate homes for filming. That money would certainly come in handy, as my unemployment insurance was winding down. It all felt serendipitous, even miraculous.

My reverie was abruptly inter­rupted when my visitor received a call on his cell. After chatting quietly for a few moments, he turned to me and said, “I’m sorry to have bothered you. My colleague found an apartment down the street that suits our purposes, and it looks as if we’ll be filming there.”

Was I disappointed? Yes, of course, but I also felt oddly heart­ened by the near miss. I was reminded that blessings are often bestowed just when they’re needed most. In this case, the blessing wasn’t that I would be compensated for the use of my apartment. It was being reminded that blessings large and small await us, though we can’t always guess when or where they will present them­­selves. But they are there for us, and we must endeavor to re­main open to receiving them.

As E. B. White wrote in 1949, “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” White might just as well have phrased it “will­ing to be blessed,” and the sentiment is true no matter where one resides.

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