The Nostalgia of New York
On March 6th, 2017 I checked three giant bags at the DFW airport, took a one way flight to LGA, cried while dragging those bags from baggage claim to the taxi line, and then again when I saw the final cab fare as we pulled up to my apartment.
I posted a silly little instagram story to celebrate my three years here. I never want to take myself so seriously that I forget to toast the little stuff. But nostalgia snuck in, as it so easily does, and that silly little story turned into a week spent thinking about these three years and the monsoon of life they’ve held.
Some of the nostalgia is heavy. I’m flooded with all the sharp-edged versions of “if I’d only known then” and “I had no idea” and “I could’ve never imagined”, etc. etc.
But a lot of the nostalgia is good. Like, really good. Competing banners pop up saying, “how beautiful it’s all been” and “how magical it still feels” and “how clearly God has been here every wobbly step of the way.”
It’s been a hard year – in many ways, it’s been a hard three years – and I’ve been pretty absorbed by the brokenness for a while now. But looking back at everything else within these years, I see so much light pouring through the cracks.
I’ve used this analogy a few times with friends (that may or may not translate without my choice dramatic hand motions) but I feel like I was launched out of my life this year. Like I’d been slowly stuffed into a cannon and finally a match was struck (is that how cannons work) and I found myself plummeting through the air towards a landing pad I didn’t know existed.
The explosion sucked. The impact broke a few bones. But the landing ground was ready to absorb it. The prep work had long been completed.
For three years my life here was slowly building into this beautiful, unassuming thing that would end up being what caught me when I fell. The friendships and experiences and career moves and the million other shards of these days would be the thing that kept me breathing when my world stopped.
It was happening all along. I was making memories and learning side streets and mastering mass transit and refining my go-to martini list and God was using every ounce of it to lay a new foundation I didn’t know I would need.
When I moved into my new apartment last fall, two of my very close friends stopped by to bring paper towels and cleaning supplies and to pray over my new space. When they left, I went to the bagel shop around the corner and ran into another friend while ordering. We sat on the sidewalk, caught up over bagel sandwiches, and he gave me all the good neighborhood recommendations.
Over the course of that week, at least ten other people stopped by to bring champagne or help unpack or sit on my new patio and drink bloody mary’s at three in the afternoon to roundoff the weekend. And I remember feeling so surrounded. So steadied by a life that stood secure amidst the rubble. So taken care of by my people and my God.
I look back on that now and take comfort in how unintentional it all was. I did nothing to build this for myself. It all seemed simple and insignificant until it wasn’t. Until I saw how purposeful God had been on my behalf. Until I stopped to look back and see His overwhelming faithfulness in every moment of these three years.
The “if I’d only known” and “I had no idea” and “I could’ve never imagined” is all still true. But the louder voice still sings of grace and hallelujah – how beautiful it’s all been, how magical it still feels, how clearly God has been here every wobbly step of the way.