I am never lectured enough by anyone anymore, because there is no one smart enough who knows me well enough to lecture me in New York City, and so I am left to make all sorts of atrocious errors in miserable autonomy.
We often have this nostalgic sense that the people of the past were better than we are.
Perhaps this is true: perhaps the awful entropy of the world has us spinning towards more and more evil: the compounding nature of sins creating a growing cacophony of evil.
But, really, there have always been sin, deep and abundant sin in the world.
Truth is always an unwelcome host; and we, his ungrateful guests, shun her to the best of our ability.
Truth is always swimming upstream. Just in different currents.
There has never been a fully virtuous society, where Truth was fully at home. We long for it so badly, though. We really, truly, deeply long for a society that is just and without ills.
Not a city of men, but a City of God.
Our longing for the world to become right is an indication of our desire for the city of God.
And it's so funny, for most of my life, I was surrounded in places, I think, that had enough of this that I thought this was possible.
The just and warm love of my family sheltered me from the cruel outside world.
"I miss the girl who used to write 'Love'" on her arms.
It is very strange how we can, so quickly, become someone very different than who we thought we would be.
There are sometimes over the past year I have looked back on the self that I once was and have pitied this current iteration of that girl, for not knowing how to be what she once was.
The business of the city wracks my soul.
On my run in the park, the sweet breeze rustles through my hair: thank you, Lord, I whisper. I need this breeze.
What is New York but a strange place to wander piss-soaked, weed-drenched subways and walk by blind Frenchmen in the park, I said once. My feelings towards her have obviously changed. But perhaps I am the piss-soaked, week-drenched blind Frenchman.
I hate the feeling of not recognizing oneself anymore. And, in so many ways, when I examine all the exteriors of who I am currently, this person seems very detached from the twenty-year-old who wrote the word love on her arms. And she seems like a different species than the sixteen-year-old who did theatre, and lived mostly inside her head.
This girl feels more vibrant and more alive. She feels sterner and perhaps stupider. She is messier than the previous versions, and makes more mistakes. But she is aware of how investment banking works, and intuits how to navigate the subway. She can listen to arguments with a more critical ear, and enjoy the world around her with a clearer eye. She wants more--and also much less. She is just as afraid, but she's learned to work through the fears, grit her teeth, and keep moving.
As I sat in the Brooks Atkinson theatre, listening to Jessie Mueller sing the haunting notes of Sara Bareilles' "She Used to Be Mine" I thought of these previous versions of myself. And I sobbed. Mostly because Jessie Mueller's singing is divine. But mostly because life changes us in all sorts of ways. And it's sometimes difficult to see the changes for the worst happening to you until you're right in the middle of them.
And I realize that the world itself is broken, has always been broken, and always will be. We will always have the poor with us. But we will also always have Christ. And to have Christ in our midst is a sign that this world has been overcome, and it can be conquered. Not by us, perhaps.
But it can be done, because it has.