I live in New York City now. A little corner of my soul always longed for this, but I never expected to slip-slide into it so quickly. I left Pittsburgh in early April, regrouped in my hometown for a month, and started teaching at Hope Academy of the Bronx on May 7. Three months into a new way of life, I’ve resurfaced. Here I am. Hope it’s good to hear from me again.
Too optimistically, I hoped my time of transition would be a creative boon. With a new bright outlook, I thought I’d be writing and tracking the journey. Last time I posted (February), I was hoping to survive two more months of the wrong job and get away from all the hard things. I was holding onto the ordinary experiences—weekly Bible study around a candlelit dinner table, walks with my co-worker to Rite Aid for fresh air during the school day, long runs around the lake at North Park. All those ordinary moments made an ending bearable, less sappy and sentimental.
I can’t remember another time when I completely closed the door on one experience when I started the next one. I could’ve kept up with Facebook groups. I could’ve texted close friends, asked for prayer, sent e-mail updates. I didn’t. Instead, I deleted my Facebook account.* I texted those friends back 24 hours late, prayed for release, and snuck into my new job. Would you like to read e-mails about my teaching at Hope Academy? I’d like to think so. Why haven’t I written to you?
I’m trying to discern the difference between “share” and “self-promote.” I want people from my past to know my present, but I don’t want to obsess over it. I can’t be all things to all people at all times—only God can. If I can’t move on because I’m in an iCloud of connection, I’m not stepping out in faith. I’m cowering in comfort.
However, if I continue on without personalized communication, I might miss the fruit of friendship. I have a new role in a start-up school. If my people, the ones who know my passion for education and why I came to the Bronx, don’t know what’s happening here, they can’t help. My mysterious disappearance might be self-protecting fear, which isn’t helpful either.
Still far from cool, connected, and comfortable in my new life, I’m humbled in the true sense. I’ve gone off the grid to avoid self-promotion, but I can’t distance myself too much in self-protection. It’s been too long since I’ve written, and my voice falls somewhere in between the two. Facebook can’t help me get 100+ views on this post, but I trust my words will go to the right people. Similarly, I can’t hold all my old & new friends on my computer screen anymore, but I trust we will be there for each other when we need it most.
*When I listened to clips of Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, I kept thinking about how little control he has over his creation. The data is incomprehensible. My own list of 1,000+ friends was incomprehensible and too long to weed through. If I couldn’t fathom the reach of my connection, it couldn’t be natural. This combined with my own fallibility, using social media to fulfill a desire beyond its capacity, led me to delete it. I zipped up my data into a folder and loaded it onto a flash drive to literally shut away in a drawer. In other news, I’m wrestling with keeping my Instagram because it has a similar effect on me…but will I have any good pictures if I don’t?