NYC by Paulo Tonn
Take me to New York City.
It’s slowly the end of my third week of school and my feelings so far are a diverse mixture of things. That list being: confused, reassured, feeling alone, feeling surrounded by a loving community, days where I feel God, days where I don’t feel God. It’s a time dualism in my life I guess. James 1:12 says “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” I guess this is one of those times of trial.
To be honest I feel more uncomfortable looking at myself in the mirror and hearing my own voice, feeling my skin and almost wanting to escape from it. I’d rather be sitting in the back of a crowded room than be in front of people at times. I feel insecure about myself, the level of which with friends maybe not so much, but certain relationships past or present just tend to bring with them feelings of inadequacy. Even when it comes to using the gifts that God’s gifted me with musically and socially it still feels off.
This past summer took me on an emotional roller coaster. Adjusting to being a camp counselor was a test of my emotions and faith on a huge level. Given that I barely had a month off of school and going straight into a job like I did, I had certain expectations, certain preconceived notions already in my tiny brain. Although there were negative moments every week and every day the positives tended to outweigh them. This isn’t to say that all of my days were a complete mess, because in all honesty they weren’t, I loved my kids, I loved my job, and at that time there was a relationship that I also found a lot of joy in. Mid summer that relationship came to an unexpected end, it felt like getting punched in the gut, like the hardest punch I could ever imagine.
That punch put me in a pretty crappy mood. My first reaction wasn’t even one of anger, but just this sense of loss. I mean honestly, I feel like that’s a pretty normal human response to loss big or relatively small. The next few weeks that followed started to nosedive. But even in the midst of weeks of sadness, frustration, and hopelessness God still found a way to reach out to me. God surrounded me with strong mentors and friends that really just showered me with love. And my perception of my job still stayed the same, the kids every week were what fueled my passion for life, and for growing closer to God.
Summer came to and end and I exited the bubble that I was in for the whole summer, and the realities of life slowly seeped back into my peripheral view. But since being back at school like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, life has taken on this almost dualistic reality for me, I feel like i’m in a catharsis at times. But going back to James, the verse mentioned above, God blesses those who persevere through trial. It makes them stronger, closer to Him who is the definition of intimacy. And there’s where I’ll end this, amidst all the brokenness in my life, God is still sovereign, He’s still here even when I feel like he isn’t. And honestly these past few days have just been days of God’s providence, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the community here around me.