This bit of wisdom spoken by various Jewish rabbis began my first Hebrew Bible tutorial at Union last week. Wisely, the TA recognized that at this stage in the semester, the phrase carried a bit more weight for the students in the room beyond the history of ancient pre-tribal Israel that we were then studying. In an effort to open the space to those sentiments, she proffered the question, “How has the 'beginning' been hard for you thus far?”
I never dreamed of moving to New York City. Really. The thought never crossed my mind. No matter how idyllic every 90's romantic comedy and Mindy Lahiri may have made it sound, I never had those romantic fantasies about living in Manhattan. I never bought an “I Love New York” t-shirt. I never had posters of the skyline on my wall. Even when I visited over New Year's two years ago, I remember specifically telling my sister, who was completely in love with the whole city, “I would absolutely hate to live here.” However, Union was very nearly a perfect fit for all of my academic interests. So as a transplant from Athens, GA, I guess it should have been no surprise that on my first day here after navigating through the rat race that is New York traffic, I found myself hyperventilating while trying to pick out a trash can in the Ritz Carlton of Bed, Bath& Beyonds.
I've got a hunch that several of us here in the residency program have experienced these brief (or prolonged) moments of panic that just catch you off guard and refuse to let go over the last month or so. Some of us are looking for jobs or applying for further schooling. Some of us (Well...all of us.) are trying to figure out where we belong in the faith or spiritual traditions we ascribe to. Some of us have our first exams coming up in the next week. Some of us are returning to New York and are trying to parse out what the next phase of life looks like. Some of us are just trying to keep our heads above water while simultaneously keeping the rest of our lives in order.
However, even in the midst of the various balancing acts that we are all trying to pull off on a day to day basis, it is comforting to be able to come back to this space everyday and know that there's a friendly face around the corner. I love knowing that I have some lovely dinner dates to look forward to every Thursday night and to be able to have meaningful conversations in our weekly meetings that don't necessarily have to pertain to school or work. Even if this city isn't everything that Meg Ryan promised, I'm more and more happy to be here everyday.
All beginnings are hard, but cheers to the people in our lives who make them even just a little bit easier.