Wednesday, March 24, 2010

knewness vs. newness

When I graduated a year ago (seems like five), I knew that what lay ahead was highly unknown.

1)I knew I would be leaving the one town I really knew.
2)I knew I would be leaving my best friends (those of whom hadn't already left themselves)
3)I knew I would be leaving my family
4)I knew I would be showing up with a part time job and the task of somehow saving up enough money to CONSIDER getting married.

What I didn't know, however, is what has turned out to be entirely more important.

1)I didn't realize that I was not only leaving the only town I ever knew, but also the only town that ever really knew me. This fact didn't just hit me, unfortunately, as soon as I pulled into town. Rather, it settled in like a winter storm, silently at first, but blinding, stranding, and leaving me feeling pretty helpless. It has been hard to meet people, partly because I was used to largely being the guy that people met, not the guy that had to meet people (which was a perfect way to get around my debilitating shyness). I have felt generally misunderstood and/or misinterpreted by a lot of people. It's hard to feel like you have to prove to everyone who you really are, and living in Lawrence has really made me self-conscious about who people assume me to be.

2)I have severely missed the inherent closeness I so took for granted with the people in my life I could go to about the stuff I was otherwise too proud to admit. Don't get me wrong, those of you whom I have found myself rather close to in Lawrence, I love and value my relationships here more than you could imagine. But for the months that I hadn't anyone but Kelsey to lean on, I realized I was really lacking in my relationship with God and in sharing that relationship with others.

3)I had no idea that within seven months of my being gone, my dad would be bed-ridden and entering into the final stages of his life. I wasn't prepared to be with him as he passed, or to be there for his funeral. It seemed like the whole process had cut into the chronological line I had so carefully pieced together on my own (knowing, all the while of course, that God has little to no respect for man-derived plans if they don't fall within his will, again rightfully so). Looking back, I honestly don't even know how I have done it. The traveling, every weekend for months, then sometimes a week at a time. It pained me beyond belief to be away from my father, to be away from my mother while she was in the midst of losing her soul-mate. I would have had to have been drug out of Columbia last May had I known it would have all happened so soon.
(I don't necessarily feel bad for having moved, to be clear, but there will never be a day go by that I don't wish I had another afternoon with my dad. And only now am I truly entering into the challenge of possibly living away from my mom.)

4)I never could have understood the amount of humility it was going to take to pack up my things and move somewhere new. It has blindsided me, the art of starting over, essentially, of walking away from a place where people thought a lot of me, where people wanted me on their side, whether it be in ministry, sports, work, writing, etc. I left a place where professors loved my writing, where I was a leader of sorts (God willing, by all means), and where people had faith in me.
And i showed up in Lawrence, showed up at a part-time job where I knew nothing about what it took to be successful, showed up in a place where people were different about the way they lived out their faith - for the most part in a better way. And upon showing up, I realized, and rightfully so, that I was a blank slate. There was no reason for people to assume that I was a leader, writer, or even a good person. And honestly, rebuilding myself into a new sociological structure, had I been willing to actually anticipate it, could have been a very fun and enjoyable thing. But instead, having come upon me like spring-time allergies, it really sucked. And perhaps the biggest blow to my unearned self-esteem has been my inability to settle into work. In a potato-peeling kindof way, I know I should be thankful to have work, and to be able to worship God through even the folding of a t-shirt... this I do understand. But when I had saved enough money and courage for that fateful day, I got engaged to the girl I am so so in love with. And then it became about her, about providing, about supporting. And over the past 8 months that I have been searching for something, some place I could really invest myself in, some place in which I could really make some sort of an impact, some place that could pay me enough to support our life together, I have had relatively nothing. It has shocked me at times, infuriated me at times, and left me damp with my own tears at times. It has been hard, mainly to let God have control of the situation, but also to feel alone when I do. There is a glimmer of hope around this corner, and yet I remain tentative.

And so this year has been a lot. That's really the best way to describe it. And I'm not even married yet. I came into this new phase of my life with a lot of predetermined ideas about how it would all be. I knew how I wanted things to work out, and yet that certainly didn't seem to make any difference. Thank God for sticking with me though, for Grace sufficient to recover me from the depth of my own folly.
From here on however, the newness shall be met with excitement once again. And forget about "knewness" altogether. To think we really 'know' anything is getting increasingly more absurd sounding with each passing day.


  1. I feel you on those Spring time allergies... remember the first time we met?

    It's always good to read about your mind, heart, and life Dave. If you only knew how much it has helped my faith.

    Miss you brother

  2. I wish someone would have told me what an adjustment post college life is. I was not prepared for the loneliness. It wasn't until a few years out that I learned how to make friends again and change my expectations of what relationships as an adult look like. It's actually better, but was hard to get to that place to see that because it takes more work. I'll be your friend. I think you and Kelsey are pretty cool.

  3. man, it has been awhile since i've read a dhall blog, which is really too bad.

    but i read this. and it really sunk in. (maybe because i'm familiar with the art of starting over?)

    anyway, thanks.