Being a native Kansan, I’m used to hearing people say, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.” I groan while the other person laughs, thinking themself creative and clever.
I moved to New York City for Equip in July. I like to think I’m a person who lives without any kind of glasses on, rosy-colored or otherwise, and who adapts relatively easily to whatever is thrown my way. Although I didn’t expect New York to be an easy transition, I didn’t expect it to be a particularly 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
Transitions never happen in a vacuum – changing one thing in your life might bring other, unexpected, changes. The most noticeable aspects of change are the physical, tangible parts of a transition. My husband and I moved into a one-bedroom apartment, smaller than anything we had rented before at twice the price. 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 had a complex system of buses, trains, and ferries. Perhaps most striking was the lack of green open areas. It was hard to find a space to retreat — there was always some other person somewhere. Not to mention, it smelled funny. My senses were assaulted at every turn.
Then, there were the things that lay underneath the murky waters: the emotional, mental, and spiritual components of transition. After arriving, I realized I had only begun to grieve my time in Kansas City coming to a close. I deeply longed to be back at my old job, enjoying my community and family.
A few weeks after we moved to New York, my birthday arrived. 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 who I was and what I was really doing here. I felt like I came to the end of my rope, while juggling the new learning and training Equip was presenting me. Is this really where the yellow brick road led?
Sanctification Through Transition
I wish I could tell you that, after 3 months, I have finished the process of transitioning. I have not. I am still in transition. And yet, the Lord is faithful. The yellow brick road led me to the Emerald City, but it was less of a physical place than it was a spiritual season. It’s easy for me to blame the entire city of New York for my frustrations, but in reality, I am being sanctified. Sanctification is not pretty and it is not comfortable.
It’s in this space that I’m wrestling through issues of identity, life calling, and the character of God. I’m thankful God is willing to wrestle with me until I’m able to unwaveringly proclaim that He is my rest, my peace, my worth and my home. After all, there is no place like home.