Friday, April 9, 2010

The Next Chapter

Six months have past and my brief stay in Madrid has suddenly ended about abruptly as it began. A few random (all positive) circumstances caused me to end my stint a bit earlier than I had planned but it actually worked out for the best. I sought adventure and newness in Madrid and I found it. Coupled with these two things, however, was a lifestyle defined by transition and inconsistency, and for good reason, don’t get me wrong. Europe is a place filled with a plethora (I can never pass up an opportunity to use that word) of cultures, languages, and people. It would be a waste not to try and soak up as much as possible while you have the chance. This does, however, inevitably lead to friendships being short lived, money being scarce, and stability in itself being nearly absent. Even as I type these words, I am lying on an air mattress in Marblehead, Massachusetts. I have been living out of a suitcase for the past month and have been living on however much cash I have in my pocket for the past six. “Wait, wait, wait…hold on a sec”, you say to yourself as you read these words. “Has young Geezy lost his sense of adventure, his passion for the unknown? Has he become…old?” Sadly, I think this is (partially) true. I have come to a point in my life where the things I value most are found in relationships, in community, and in simplicity. But in my defense there’s plenty of newness and adventure to be found in the things I’ve mentioned.
So why go back to Cincy? An excellent question my friends. Can’t these things be found anywhere? I believe that they can. But including the fact that I have already started some beautiful relationships back home, there are a few other reasons that Cincy won first prize for my next place of residence: Firstly, I know it. Take all the shots at the Nati you want, but it’s my home. If I want a shirt I know where I can buy the exact one I want for the lowest price. If I need a friend to chill out with on a Friday night I have several to call. If I need to get my car fixed, I know exactly where to take it (where they won’t charge me double for labor). I’m not done with the rest of the world, I just need Cincy to give me a little boost before I’m ready to jump up on the ledge and get back out there. I can also, in the midst of our booming economy, find a job a lot easier in Cincy. I’ll be teaching English (You already know I put that 1200 euro TEFL certificate on my resume…) for the next few months at an academy in the heart of Cincinnati and in the fall (fingers crossed) I’ll be working at another elementary school spending my time once again playing Frankenstein and kick ball with 7 year olds and talking to parents on the phone in my garbled Spanish…it’ll be great.

Moving forward. I’ve tried to pinpoint just how I feel about those two words. So far, it’s caused a few emotions to occur. I am excited. The future is synonymous with opportunity and I intend to take advantage of all the time and blessings that God has given me. I am anxious. Having this feeling has become a habit and not a very good one. I have a tendency to be overly nostalgic about the past and to romanticize my future leaving almost no room for me to appreciate the present. This anxiousness comes all too naturally after my excitement but the older I get, the better I am becoming at realizing that if I focus too much on my future (or my past), I will miss out on the good (which should always be soaked up as much as possible) and the bad (which almost always provides an opportunity to learn and grow) that’s right in front of me. I am afraid. Heck, I’ll even throw doubtful in there too. These two are hard because I know better. I am told that if I follow Jesus I will only find joy and contentment and I know in my heart I truly believe that. Gosh…I really do. But I still doubt. I have many friends and family that continuously stand by my side. But I am afraid of being alone. Every time I am in need, my needs have been met. But still I look around and think about what I am lacking. With God’s grace I have been successful in many things. But still I fear failure. And so it goes. Illogical, irrational and impractical: Doubt and Fear. Doubt and Fear. So I stop. I close my eyes. I take a deep breath. And I open them. Time to live.
So here I am. I am sitting in downtown Cincinnati (this is how long I’ve taken to write this blog…definitely started it in Madrid. So sorry guys) near an empty pavilion. It’s nine a.m. Opening day for the Red Legs. Soon the city will be filled with streamers and candy left over from the parade, the smell of hot dogs and popcorn, and the sound of fireworks and cheering fans. For right now I’m home. Who knows what the future holds. I can guess that it will be filled with things that are difficult, things that will make me laugh, things that will hurt, and things that I’ll love. But I think I’m ok with that. Like I said…time to live.