After you have lived somewhere for a year, and lived there well, the roads that once felt foreign, feel familiar. Known.
I take roads that are known last night. Turning mechanically, thinking barely, I find myself home.
There were hugs and cups of tea with friends last night, the Rangers game on in the background, a cider candle lit on the table. I know I am loved here, even if the love is different. Someone tells me that I am here to learn to love where loving does not come naturally to me. My soul balks at that because it points out that I have not chosen the greatest of these, faith, hope, and love, and I have not given it freely. My soul is a choosy one.
Later another friend asks me to think diagnostically: if you say that you do not care about this one thing, but you find yourself caring in this specific situation, doesn't that reveal that you actually do care [and so are lying to yourself]? He didn't ask that part, I added it later because it's true.
I lie to myself.
I think myself bigger and better than I am.
And so I am surprised when being in New York, how well I am known there, where there are no secrets among friends or enemies. And here, last night, when two say pointed things that hit their mark. I am surprised that I am such an easy target for being known. No matter where I go, I wear who I am on my sleeve. I know I wear it not well and sometimes I wear it down, with questions, thoughts, determination. But I wear it, even when I feel I have sufficiently covered my shame with fig leaves and falsehoods.
I cannot hide.
One year is not enough time to know every road here well. And one year is not enough time to know me well. It is not even enough time for me to know myself well. But it is enough time to know the roads that are well-traveled and to know the deep ruts in my soul, the ones I cannot help but continually walk into.
David waxed poetic when he said "Blessed is the man whose strength is in God, whose heart is set on pilgrimage." I think we might have been friends.
It is much better, see, to draw my strength from God and not from what I love. To set my heart on the highway to Zion (another translation says), but to pilgrimage my way there. To know my way, and know it well, but also, to be known along my way and be known well.
You still have three days to win one of my favorite books (and right now the odds are in your favor). Go for it, I promise if you win, you won't regret it.