Reminders of Camaraderie.
22 February, 2009 § 1 Comment
Sometimes it becomes all too easy to wallow in a private puddle of self-pity and aloneness in my current living environment. In all honesty, this past year has involved many more struggles, however internalized, than I usually like to reveal to others or even admit to myself. Being a young, unmarried twenty-something in a milieu where rings, PhDs and teenage angst equally abound brings a set of very real frustrations along with the joys. At times, the reality of living in western New York where the average 1-room apartment costs upwards of $500, the price of three fresh apples reaches close to $7 and the notion of fine dining is limited to sandwich melts with fries is downright depressing. The drive to any sort of cultural event (not to mention a decent bookstore) takes well over an hour and fifteen minutes. Most of my friends love to visit but hate to live here. All in all, the situation can readily lend itself to a bleak onslaught of the doldrums.
I grapple with reconciling the knowledge that this dear hamlet, home to me for almost five years already, is exactly where I’m supposed to be for now and I don’t want to waste a minute of my life here… but also being keenly aware of a deeply impatient desire for the next season of my life to begin. Now. Please and thank you.
I know that I’m blessed beyond measure to be in such a safe, familiar environment where I can continue to cultivate pre-existent relationships with people ranging in age from 7 to 71 (O Wendell Chamberlain, you dear quavering man) and from such varying walks of life, including parent, photographer, student, sibling, farmer, professor, office employee, truck driver, custodian and everything else in-between… and yet, sometimes I ache to be with people for whom “travel” extends beyond the “far” lands of Rochester or Buffalo. I long to be with people who are passionate about justice and beauty and truth and God and community and who are actively pursuing an immersion in those very issues on a real, day-to-day basis. I miss people who can comfortably discuss budgets, car insurance, indie films, grocery lists and angry clients along with postmodern theories, Paulian notions of discipleship, the role of church leadership, microfinancing options in the developing world and the pros and cons of close reading versus deconstruction.
I love that I’m truly independent, live in a beautiful apartment, can look forward to work in the morning (at least, most mornings…), am slowly paying off my college loans, know my way around the county and have the chance to start making plans for the future… sometimes, though, the independence becomes isolation, the apartment a cage, the work too all-consuming, the college loans insurmountable, the county unvarying and the future an enigmatic puzzle. Could working as an admissions counselor at a small liberal arts college in western New York be any further removed from my longstanding dream/passion for coming alongside hurting people in a life of simple yet radical service and community development in south Asia? I wonder.
I am often thrilled over being close enough to the university scene to be a welcome listening ear to current students and I relish the chance to learn from the wisdom of my older, much wiser colleagues in the work setting; but it’s also miserable at times… I’m too young to share in the professor vernacular and too old to hobnob with the daily drama of college students. If I’m not careful, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed with the realization that my life right now is one awkward bracket of close but not in, reliable but not desirable and active but not moving forward.
(And please, this is not meant to be a post of complaint or even a bid for sympathy
so don’t interpret it or respond to me as such).
Tonight, however, God gave me an unexpected gift and reminder of the richness to be found in this place: talking, swapping Res Life stories, laughing until tears came, sharing our hearts, referencing numerous movie quotes and gorging on delicious homemade salsa with a group of dear, dear friends for well over five hours straight. Rachel and Alex, Pete, Gabe and Ginny: thanks for being you when I needed it the most and reminding me of the joys found in companionship… right here. And right now.