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Sarah Zylstra: In September, 2001, Christina Stanton was on top of the world.
Christina Stanton: I did what a lot of people do, I packed one little suitcase of clothes and made my way up to New York and said, here I am, I want to be on the Broadway stage.
Sarah Zylstra: Christina was 23 when she landed in New York City. The first thing she learned was that making it big was harder than it looked. She auditioned all the time, but there weren’t enough gigs to pay the bills. So she picked up the day job as a tour guide and she gathered roommates to share costs in a tiny apartment near Times Square. She made a few attempts to attend church. She’d grown up in a Christian family, but she only knew of four congregations and any way there were too many other things. After a while, Christina settled in, she was really good at giving tours and she moved from double-decker tour buses to private companies. She met a man named Brian on match.com. By the way, they were one of the first successful couples of match.com, and they’re still the longest married couple on that website. Brian was moving his way up in the financial world, he was nominally Catholic, but by now she was only culturally Protestant. Religion wasn’t important to either one of them.
Christina Stanton: So we both had a different religious backgrounds that definitely made us believe in Jesus. However, how it was being played out in our lives at the time was very shallow, very compartmentalized, was not an active part of our lives. We hadn’t found a church, we hadn’t even started to try. It wasn’t deep, it didn’t affect our everyday life, for sure.
Sarah Zylstra: When nobody’s going to church, you don’t have to argue about which one to attend. Happy together Brian and Christina got married. They moved into a new apartment in the Financial District that had the rarest of things in New York City, a sizeable outdoor terrace. If you stood on it, your eyes would be drawn right to the World Trade Center Tower, just six blocks away. And these aren’t six big city blocks like in downtown Chicago, when New York made their streets, they basically paved over horse trails. And so downtown the blocks are tiny.
Christina Stanton: We had a new puppy, it was a Boston Terrier and everything was new, it was a new…