Being a native Kansan, a phrase I am used to hearing after arriving to a new place is, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorthy.” I groan, while the relayer laughs thinking himself creative and clever.
I moved to New York City for Equip in July. I like to think of myself as a person who lives life without any kind of glasses on, rosy-colored or otherwise, and who adapts relatively easily to whatever is thrown my way. Although I did not expect New York to be an easy transition, I also did not expect it to be a crazy difficult one either. Looking back, I am not sure what I was expecting. My friends told me I would love it — that I was made for New York City. The way they described it, you would have thought it was the Emerald City.
Navigating the Emerald City
With transition comes all sorts of things. Of course, there is the tip of the iceberg: the physical, tangible parts of a transition. My husband and I moved into a one-bedroom apartment, smaller than anything we had rented before and with rent costing twice as much. Soon we had a few unexpected guests living with us as well, friendly little mice and scurrying cockroaches.
We no longer had access to a car. Instead, we were given a complex system of buses, trains and ferries at our disposal. Perhaps most striking was the lack of green open areas. It was hard to find a space to retreat — there was always someone somewhere. Not to mention, it smelled funny. My five senses were assaulted at every turn.
Then there were the things that lay underneath the murky waters, the emotional, mental and spiritual components of a transition. After arriving, I realized that I had only begun to grieve my time in Kansas City coming to a close. I deeply longed to be back working the job I had, relishing in community and family.
I had my birthday within the first couple of weeks of living in New York City, and I cried and cried. I lost vivacity and the drive to go out. I felt like I was in self-preservation mode. I began to question things about who I was and what I was really doing here. I felt like I had come to the end of my rope, all while trying to juggle the new learning and training that Equip was presenting me. Is this really where the yellow brick road led?
Sanctification through transition
I wish I could stand before you and tell you that after 3 months, I have finished transitioning. But I have not. I am still transitioning. And yet, the Lord is faithful. The yellow brick road led me to the Emerald City, where my answers for the ‘wizard’ awaited. But the Emerald City was less of a physical place and more of a spiritual season. It is easy for me to blame the entire city of New York for my frustrations, but in reality, I am being sanctified. And sanctification is not pretty and it is not comfortable.
It is in this space I am wrestling: wrestling through issues of identity, life calling and the character of God. And I am still wrestling. And God is willing to wrestle with me in this space until I am able to unwaveringly proclaim that ultimately he is my rest, my peace, my worth and my home. After all, there is no place like home.