I'm saying goodbye to two of my favorite people this week. They've been my friends for the entirety of my time in NYC, and now it's time for them to begin life in a new city. I am excited for them—but it's taken me some time to get to that place.
Over the course of this past year, I've said goodbye to more and more friends. New York City is a transient place, and farewell parties have become par for the course. I've heard that they're especially common during one’s three-to-five-year mark in the Big Apple. I have just hit three years in the city, and the number of goodbyes seems to come in waves.
My closest friends here are really my family, which makes saying goodbye to them that much more difficult. I don't like to say goodbye (does anyone?), and for a while, I felt deeply saddened by some of my friends’ decisions to leave. Beyond feeling sad, though, I felt a nagging sense that I was somehow being left behind.
What is so wrong with living in New York City? Why does everyone want to leave? Should I stay here? Am I going to be the old spinster who stayed in the city while everyone else moved away?
I know: totally over-dramatic. But those thoughts definitely came up. People are leaving because they have exciting new job opportunities, or they recently got married, or they have babies. They’re moving because they’re ready for a change and a new chapter. And these are all good reasons to move. Yet their moves have made me turn a mirror to myself and wonder if I was in fact the foolish one for staying. I felt as though I'm missing out on something. They’re moving on while I'm here in the city, still doing my thing, figuring it all out, and taking life one day at a time.
Relationships are shifting, and change is in the air. It’s been unsettling. For three years, I've relied on my friends and community here in the city as the foundation I stand upon. I can see how much stock I placed in these relationships because the ground under my feet now feels shaky.
As I’ve been processing through all the change, though, I keep being reminded that my true foundation comes from something that cannot be taken away.
Jesus is the same then, and now, and forever. He is the true rock I can stand on. If I look back on my life, I see that in all of my own moves and job switches and relationship changes, He has been there as my anchor.
Look at the dictionary definition: an anchor is a heavy device that is attached to a boat or ship by a rope or chain and that is thrown into the water to hold the boat or ship in place. It’s also a person or thing that provides strength and support.
I have rocked and swayed. I have come against high winds and waves. The course seems uncertain. Still the anchor is sure. God’s will is steadfast. It’s no mistake that He has me right here, right now, even when it seems like everyone is moving on without me. He’s not going to let me drift away into something that isn’t His best for me. God has me on a different path. Right now, that means living in New York City and continuing to listen to the call He has for me. He has not forgotten about me or left me behind. I’m always looking for the next best thing, to grow, progress, and turn the page to a new chapter. Perhaps the new chapter is right here, and I’m growing by simply staying put.
I am adopting a lens of understanding. Leaving the city doesn’t make someone weak or mean they’re running away. That’s what I used to think about people who left, and it's simply not true. We each have different paths. In the same vein, staying here doesn’t mean I’m missing out on a better life. Wherever we are being called and however our surroundings may change, the anchor stays the same. So now I can celebrate and share in excitement with people who are moving. He’s cultivating in me a grateful heart. How amazing that God has provided such wonderful relationships here in the city; He’s given me people to miss.
Thinking of my life in this way has been a game-changer. I’m still sad that my friends have moved or are moving away. When the next person tells me they are leaving the city, I will still be upset. But I know ultimately my course is on track. My foundation is intact—I have the surest anchor of all, and I am okay. The Lord has me right where he wants me.