I always wanted to go to New York. I remember seeing it in all the movies and listening to people talk about it and how busy it is there, and thinking it sounded like such a great place. It was always one of those places that I hoped I would get to see someday, but figured that I probably never would. I just always figured that I would never have the money to go, or anyone to go with.
Last year one of my best friends got an acceptance letter from New York University. The first thing she said to me was, "You have to come see New York and help me move all my crap there!"
And just like that, I decided I was going to New York. I got a second job and started saving for a plane ticket, and before I knew it, the end of August was here and it was time to move my friend across the country...
As with all defining life moments, it turned out that getting to New York hadn't been the hard part after all, it was coming home. It was getting on the plane alone and looking out the window and watching the city disappear.
And with it, my best friend.
I can't explain why it hurt so much. Perhaps that's just the way it feels when someone you care about moves far away. Knowing that you can't call them up and hangout with them anymore, or receive texts saying "What are you doing RIGHT NOW?" or "That's okay! Wal-Mart's open til 11! I need you to take me there:)" And the worst part, knowing that in those moments when you miss them the most, there's almost 3,000 miles in-between your home, and theirs.
I don't remember when I realized it. Maybe it was when I found out that my two best friends were leaving Bend all within the same 2 months. One moving to the other side of the country, and one leaving it all together. Maybe I realized it when I actually started pursuing my relationship with God again. Or maybe I knew it all along, but was never able to grasp it until recently. This thing I realized: There's a time for everything. I know that's not a deeply moving or profound thought. And yes, I know that that's one of the main points of Ecclesiastes and if you've grown up in church you've heard it a thousand times. But hearing something over and over and over again, and then finally realizing it's true, are two different things.
It's funny how at different times in our lives we'll either hate change and beg God to let things stay the way they are, or hate where we are and beg God to change something. Anything. Just as long as when you wake up tomorrow, it's not to the same exact thing you woke up to yesterday.
This thing I realized about everything having a season, was that my time to grow up was coming...and it was coming fast. My adventure isn't going to be the same as my friends though. I don't know exactly what it's going to be, but I think that God has something a little bit different in-store for me.
It's easy to get discouraged and feel like you're not worth very much when almost everywhere you go people are asking you what you're doing with your life and you don't have an answer for them. I was at work the other day and got lectured by a customer for 20 minutes about how I need to get back in school and be like his daughter who is making a crap-ton of money and getting ten thousand dollar raises every year. He went on to tell me that his daughter is happy because she loves her job, and the reason she loves her job is because she went to school for it. That's fair. I can totally understand that. I can even be happy for his daughter. That's awesome. But then he said this, "Unless you get your ass back in school and get a good career, you won't be happy. People who work at meaningless jobs like this, are never happy." Those weren't his exact words, but he got his point across loud and clear. For 20 minutes. No joke.
Have you ever been to New Zealand? I haven't, but one of my best friends is leaving in October to go there until the beginning of next year, at which point who knows how long she'll be back here before she either goes back to New Zealand, or goes somewhere else. She's wanted to go there as long as I've known her, and a long time before that too. I've always seen it as one of those passions God puts in someone from a super early age. Now that I really think about it, I'm not sure if there's ever been a time when we've hung out and haven't talked about New Zealand in one way or another...We've been friends for 6 years...We've talked about it a lot,
so earlier this year when she told me she was going there, I was really happy for her.
This year has seen me go through a lot of mood swings. I never thought I was the moody type, but I'm beginning to think I might be...but then again, I feel like I've been sitting around waiting for my life to start, and now I realize that that has a way of making a person a little emotionally unstable. ;)
You know how some years seem to go by really fast, while others just drag on by? Or those years that seem to do both? Yeah, this year falls into that last category for me. On the one hand, I didn't want September to come, because that meant going to New York and saying goodbye to one of my best friends.
But on the other hand, I had this strange certainty that life was going to start when I got home. While I wasn't exactly thrilled to do so, I could hear that still small voice telling me to take heart, because God was about to do something new...
It's funny how God works sometimes. How He'll lead us to places in our lives where we feel like there's no way we can make it. Where we're so consumed by our needs for tomorrow, that we can't see today. My personal favorite is when He leads you to the places you've been asking for, but as soon as he does, it's like the world starts the agonizingly slow process of caving in around you. The funny thing about caving in, is that the ground always seems to collapse everywhere except for where you're standing first, so that you can be terrified as you watch it coming for you.
There was this one night a few weeks ago in New York, I was sitting in my friends dorm room thinking about the night before we left. I had come home from work that night to find my dad waiting for me outside. That's never a good sign. He picked a fight with me as soon as I got out of the car. The conversation ended with me saying that maybe if he was really lucky, I would die in a plane crash on my way home and he would never have to deal with me again. To which he responded, "Ha, yeah if I'm lucky." I hadn't been expecting that. Though now that I think about it, I don't know why.
I had known he was going to be yelling at me when I got home that night. My mom had called to let me know pretty early on. When I was getting ready to leave work my boss said this to me, "Don't worry to much, he can't break you anymore than he already has."
I wish that was true. But even when you've stopped loving someone, they still find ways to break your heart into smaller pieces than the last time. Even when you think you've given up all hope that things could ever be different, they seem to find a way of shattering the hope you didn't know you had.
I never realized until this trip why I love playing the piano so much. Why when I go a long time without playing it, I feel like a piece of me is drying up, and I long to play it, in the hope that I can preserve that piece of me and stop it from leaving. See, it's not just that I like the piano. It's not just that it sounds incredibly beautiful with played the right way. It's that when I sit down at the piano, I can express exactly what I'm feeling without saying a word. I never realized until this trip just how much playing the piano is a form of prayer for me. A way of pouring my heart out to God when I can't find the words to say how broken and messed up I feel, and just how much I need him.
That night in New York when I was thinking about my dad, and coming home, I couldn't shake the feeling that everything was going to be okay. That God has a plan for my life and will be with me every step of the way, no matter what. It's been two weeks now, and I still can't shake it. The thing that convinces me that it's God, and that its not all in my head, is that even on bad days, days when I feel like everything is impossible, I know that it's not. I know that God has a plan, and that plan doesn't include abandoning me and leaving me to figure life out on my own.
One of my favorite things about God: He's bigger than my problems. He has a way of making everything work together for good, even when everything seems impossible.
The thing I love about his promises: They're not dependent upon my emotions. They're faithful whether I am or not, and they're there even when I can't understand why.
I feel like I've learned more in the last month than I have all year. It's funny how that happens sometimes.
I don't know what exactly God's going to be doing in my life, and I don't know how he's going to do it, but I know he's going to.
And for now, that's all I need.