Do not be afraid; just believe.

Week 1 in Boston is in the books. Well, I don’t know if I would say it was one for the books, because it was a little anticlimactic, to be honest. If you’ll indulge me:

I moved here two weeks before classes started, and there were many reasons why. The lease for my campus apartment started on September 1st, my parents and Jason were all available to help me move that weekend, I was finished with AmeriCorps, I wanted to get to know the area a little before classes started: all good reasons. But having good reasons for moving two weeks before it was necessary doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a hard transition. Because it was (and still is).

After Jason and my parents said their goodbyes and drove back to Pennsylvania, my first full day completely on my own was Labor Day, a day when few shops and places in Newton Centre were open and virtually no one was around campus. Talk about quiet. True, there is nothing wrong with quiet, and I often enjoy spending time by myself (aka reading). But for an extravert who moved to a brand new place on my own, the lack of substantial human contact for the first few days was disheartening.

This week I have found comfort in the story from Mark’s Gospel, when Jesus is asked to come to the house of Jarius, one of the synagogue rulers, to heal his small daughter who was close to death. While they are still on their way, some men from the synagogue come out to tell Jarius that his daughter has died, and there is no need to bother Jesus anymore. Ignoring the men, Jesus walks into the home and brings the child back to life, but not before assuring Jaruis, “Do not be afraid; just believe.”

Do not be afraid; just believe. That should be my mantra at the end of this challenging week, and as I look forward to another full week ahead before classes begin on September 16th. Today, Saturday, I struggle as my heart and thoughts are aching and full. I am thinking of friends and family who are dealing with various hardships, about which I can do little to nothing, and I am also rejoicing from afar as dear friends celebrate joys like weddings and birthdays. How I wish I wasn’t many hours and many more miles away from these loved ones. I struggle with guilt as I am so far removed from these important and challenging occasions and situations, while I also resist the urge for self pity, trusting that the God who holds the stars together also holds me when I feel unsure and vulnerable.

Do not be afraid; just believe.

This is not all a sob story: in the past few days I have indeed met a few folks from campus, explored a little of Newton Centre (a lot of cute restaurants, frozen yogurt shops, and an adorable locally owned bookstore that it took a lot of self discipline to walk out of without purchasing anything), and saw a few friends and family in the area, all of which have been wonderful and much needed. All the same, I thank you for your thoughts and your prayers as this transition continues to unfold and as I approach the start of the semester very soon.

Do not be afraid; just believe.

God of Inmost Thoughts, thank you for giving me a mind that continues to challenge my own complacency and clarify every uncertain feeling, as frustrating as that can be. Thank you for new adventures and especially for family and friends: new, near, far, and very far. Be here in this struggle and this place of unease. For you are in every joy, hardship, and all the sticky places in between, Amen.

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