I’ve been delaying this post for a while.
For the past 6 or so weeks or so my mind has been occupied with lament, doubt, fear, excitement, anticipation, worry, curiosity, logistics, hypotheticals, and all the other emotions/nuclear fallout that comes with a life change. That life change?
I’m moving to Nashville!
I’m moving there to do a yearlong fellowship my friend emailed me about on a whim. Who knew life could change so much just because a friend forwards you an email?! Life is crazy, folks. I’m just along for the ride, trying to not drive like I’m playing Mario Kart because I SUCK at Mario Kart and fall off the road 100% of the time, every time.
When I first found out about the fellowship, there wasn’t any kind of flashing sign, lightbulb moment, wow-you-gotta-do-this realization. It was more of a quiet moment, a thought that sounded more like: “Well. This sounds very interesting. This is right up my alley! Perhaps I would like it. Maybe I’ll apply and see what happens.”
Life is crazy, folks. I’m just along for the ride, trying to not drive like I’m playing Mario Kart because I SUCK at Mario Kart and fall off the road 100% of the time, every time.
What happened was a series of interviews, questions, and an offer for a new opportunity. I’ll be joining an organization called Q Ideas, a nonprofit that operates as a place where church and cultural leaders come together to collaborate and explore ideas about how the Gospel can be expressed within our cultural context. I feel like a lot of folks I know actually knew what Q was before I did, which begs the question: WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?! I kid, I kid…but really! I couldn’t believe I didn’t know this organization existed until I was suddenly contemplating uprooting my entire life in Pittsburgh in favor of moving to a city with a high heat index and a food scene that will surely tempt my wallet and waistline more than it has even been tempted before. But alas: here we are!
How this all went down
In 25 days, I’ll roll out of Pittsburgh with my mishmash of belongings and head South on a journey I have prescribed the tag “#YinzToYall” to. I’ll be spending the year doing work geared towards Q’s conferences, and will spend time engaging with folks from around the country on a smaller level as we all grapple with how big ideas like race, division, creativity, the refugee crisis, work, identity, and more play out in our cities, towns, campuses, and communities across America. I’ll get to interact with college students and professors, people from cities with actual subway systems, with folks who look and live differently from me—and I couldn’t be more excited about that prospect.
During this process, as I said before, I experienced a whole range of emotions. I was a human version of all the roles Leonardo DiCaprio has played over the years. *Excited! Fearful! Upset! Terrified! Relieved! Confused!* I should get an Oscar nod for my emotional performance these past few weeks.
When I was interviewing, I struggled the most with thinking about moving away from my family, my church community, my niece and nephews, and having the ease of a simple social life that has come with this past year. I was also worried about leaving my current job and a team I really enjoyed, and I was also really nervous about finding another part-time job in Nashville because my fellowship was only part-time.
As the weeks went on and the process continued, I was able to apply to some part-time jobs, but another idea also came along: asking my current employer if I could stay. Once I was offered the fellowship, I approached my manager, and after a few days and details, it works out that I can stay on my current team on a remote, part-time basis.
“…When we find ourselves in those moments, the best thing we can do is take a leap and not look down.” – Andrew Belle
When I made the decision to accept the fellowship, turn down another part-time job, and accept the extension to stay on at my current job, I kind of just laughed at the beautiful chaos of it all. Weeks before this, I knew nothing about how the future was going to unfold. As I was sitting on the bus one day, Andrew Belle’s recent track “Down” came on a playlist I was listening to. The song, in Belle’s words, is about how “the most rewarding moments of his life have come through moving forward in the midst of scary, unknown circumstances.“
This song was my anthem in this period of life that felt scary, unknown, full of questions. “…When we find ourselves in those moments,” Belle says, “the best thing we can do is take a leap and not look down.“
I tried to not look down, but honestly, the day I decided to commit to the move, I just kept crying! Internet: it’s frickin’ scary to decide to move the furthest away from your family that you’ve ever lived and go to a new place where a lot of hip people live and do a new thing and also to tell my people here that I’m doing all of these things. And then it was also scary because I didn’t know where I was gunna live and how I wasn’t going to have zero dollars to survive! WOWZAAAAA
But every. single. time. I was afraid of something, a solution has been presented.
What will I do for my other job?! My current employer wanted to keep me on!
Where will I live? I found an amazing place with a really nice girl in an amazing neighborhood that’s 1 mile from a giant state park and college campus and is next to like frickin’ mansion houses. It’s GREAT
Who will I live with? My roommate LOVES golden retrievers AND Jesus and has a fully furnished home, and she told me I remind her of a great friend from college. *tears*
What do I do with my dog? My brother wanted to watch her for me in the days before I move into my apartment since there’s a bit of a gap between when I start work and when I move into my house. And since I’ll be working remotely, I’ll be able to spend time with Tess instead of her being sad and lonely all day. AND WE LIVE NEAR A PARK!!!!!!!!!!
Will I still get to go on my trip to Colorado? I could rebook tickets and I didn’t lose any money and actually gained time.
Will everyone around me be sad/mad/skeptical? Everyone has been so supportive and tremendously gracious and excited for me. P-T-L
Will my parents be lonely and be upset that I’m taking the dog? My mom’s close friend sends an email the week I decide to move saying her golden retriever just had puppies. GUYS! LOOK AT THESE PUPPIES!! My mom is getting one a couple weeks after I move!!! I AM CRYING EVERYDAY
Guys, God is insanely good. But here’s the crazy thing: I doubted and he STILL came through. I wavered and He was steady. I wasn’t full of faith, and he remained full of grace, full of compassion, full of generosity. It’s unmerited. Undeserved. Astounding.
I am awestruck at His care, determined to show gratitude but knowing my human heart will never have the ability to give back, nor does it have to. I can’t wrap my mind around it. I suppose I’ll spend the rest of the time I have trying to figure out the mystery of this grace.
I doubted and he STILL came through. I wavered and He was steady. I wasn’t full of faith, and he remained full of grace, full of compassion, full of generosity…I’ll spend the rest of the time I have trying to figure out the mystery of this grace.
So what’s next?
In a few weeks I’ll sign off at work for 2 weeks of vacation. The first week I’ll be around here, packing up, visiting friends and family, eating at all my favorite spots, and preparing for what’s ahead. Then I’ll drive down to Nashville before I head out to Colorado for a week for a planned visit with friends and my cousin’s wedding. I’ve never been further west than Indiana.
As this new chapter of life begins, I remind myself that I do not have to strong in this change. I do not need to be fearless. I do not need to bear down and put a smile on. I am so very excited for what’s ahead, and I know that I am able:
“You are able, but not because you mustered up a brave moment. You are able to walk Jesus-strong because of who He is and what He has already done.”
Here’s to new beginnings, graceful opportunities, and a whole lot of BBQ.
No we won’t look down.