So there has just been a lot of water that’s run under the bridge since I last wrote. Looking back over the past two months I think I have felt every emotion known to man—some emotions I never thought I would have to deal with. These past two months have been hard. So hard.
But God is good. So good. And I think I might actually be able to do this life here–I was beginning to wonder there for a while. Beginning to wonder if I wasn’t just ready to pack it all in and head back to the Shire with my nephew and my family and my car and a job where I could just make some money to fund all the things I wish I could do…Yes, trust me, life in NYC is not as glamorous as it might sound!
Home. What is home? Where is it?
Up until this point in my life I feel like I have lived in segments. I’ve had specific goals to achieve with the intent of getting to a certain place, but each segment ended with at least a pause at “home”. The Shire. My family. The comfort and familiarity of a place you KNOW and the presence of people that will love you no matter what. Safe. Warm. Cookies in the freezer. Belonging. Refuge from all the hard and scary things. My small town coffee shop, my sisters and our book club, my little nephew…
I was always a dreamer and a planner. My mind has always been filled with big ideas of what I thought would be an ideal life. I was always rather judgmental of people who simply wanted to stay put in the place they grew up. I never wanted to stay in the Shire, and I always thought I would be perfectly fine with moving away and experiencing all the adventures that a life on my own in a different and “exciting” place would bring.
Unfortunately, reality rarely plays out in the way that our dreams look. Things like using public transportation and exploring new cities may seem exciting from the comfort of a cozy living room, but, trust me, wasting an entire metro swipe ($2.75) because you went in the wrong entrance, waiting for a train that was supposed to come for over half an hour, wondering around late at night because your GPS is more confused than you and your phone is almost dead…umm, that’s a totally different story. (And its 10 times worse when your train doesn’t come and you have to use the bathroom!) They don’t tell you things like that about real life.
photos by Krista Roth
Coming back to the city from being in the Shire at Christmas was like an ice-cold bucket of reality for me. It all started to feel so final when suddenly I started realizing that this is home now. I have to learn how to build a life here now. And all of the sudden, for one of the first times in my life, I didn’t think I wanted to. I always thought I wanted this place to be my home and have this be my life, and I never thought I wouldn’t want to come back from a visit to Indiana. I never thought it would actually hurt so bad and I would randomly start to cry numerous times a day because I was homesick.
But it’s been good for me. I needed to get to this point. I needed to get to the point of truly being committed for the long haul to what I’m called to do even when it doesn’t feel good and its not something I feel like I want. That phrase from Winnie the Pooh keeps running through my head where he says how lucky he is to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard. I’ve realized just how special my family is to me and how much I treasure them and our times together. I’m ashamed to say how much I have taken them for granted in the past. These last few months have been filled with so many new things, and I’ve had to do things that have scared me to death, made me dread waking up in the morning, and made me want to hide away and never interact with people ever again. But I think I’m going to make it.
I was walking home from another new experience on Friday after a long, stressful week, and I suddenly realized that I was feeling ok. I suddenly realized that maybe I’m starting to get used to this. I’m not freaking out so bad over what I have to do this next week, and I’m not missing the Shire quite so much…
Coming back to the idea of home, I think more than a physical place, home has always represented a place of safety, comfort, refuge, and rest. Because of this whenever I’ve been in a difficult, hard, or stressful situation, my first thought is that I just want to go “home.” But if I look at the characteristics I associate with the concept of home, I can find all of those things in Jesus. Even if my physical family isn’t there, as long as I have Jesus, it’s going to be okay. I never even have to leave “home”.
Photo by Kris Roth
So I think I’m going to be okay, but not by myself. If there is one thing I am continually being reminded of it is my incredible weakness and inability to do any of this. So many times I have cried out to God and He has always come through for me. Maybe it didn’t seem like He was there at the time, but I KNOW it’s only been through His strength that I’ve made it this far. I know that things are still going to be hard and there are going to be moments when I simply want to collapse and freak out. There is going to be more wondering around with my GPS, and probably more tears on the subway, but somehow I think it’s going to be ok. And maybe, I just might end up enjoying some of this life too!
Photo by Rachel Lawrence
Be encouraged…sometimes the dark seems like it will never end, but just keep holding on to Jesus, He’s got this!