I decided to bring the blog back, because I've been thinking through a lot of things and wanted to put those thoughts on paper (virtually speaking). Vocalization is a good way to process ideas, and I wanted to share them with you wonderful people as well.
Idols are a dangerous thing. However, even more dangerous are unrecognized idols. These are the idols that creep in when we are focused elsewhere. The obsession with a tv series as a way to cope with stress from a difficult job. Focusing on finding a romantic relationship while neglecting friends and family. The desire to focus on 'church' (perfect worship, perfect sermons, perfect fellowship) at the expense of focusing on our creator, God. Suddenly, before we know it, our well meaning pursuits have consumed our lives and become debilitating idols. Friends: I have a confession. Over the past 6 years Pittsburgh has become my idol.
It was a difficult thing to acknowledge, but it became particularly evident this past year. Around the time of my junior year at Pitt, I began to start framing my decisions in terms of staying in Pittsburgh at all costs. It became an obsession, in most respects, one which I denied. I needed to find a job in Pittsburgh, live in Pittsburgh, and nothing else would suffice. When that didn't exactly pan out, I became convinced that grad school at Pitt was where I should be. Sure, I was able to stay in Pittsburgh the past two years, but things never seemed completely right. I began to realize that I had been asking God to do something in my life, but I had essentially told Him leaving Pittsburgh wasn't an option. Gradually, it occurred to me that staying in Pittsburgh might be why nothing had happened. The ultimate realization came this spring, after I had applied and gotten into grad school at Pitt. I was split between doing a program that I wasn't actually interested in, but would only take a year, and a program that I was interested in but made little sense economically or practically. Both programs would force me to incur large amounts of additional student loans, and honestly were just not good fits for me. Undeterred, I was convinced that I needed to just choose one and suck it up. However, after many conversations with thoughtful, amazing, friends, I realized my idolization had blinded me to the absurd reality of doing either program.
In addition, somewhere along the way, I had become convinced that the only girl for me would be a Pitt grad or native Pittsburgher. As a result, having a relationship work with one of the two became a direct accomplice to my stated goal of staying in Pittsburgh. Ultimately, this led me to consider a massive variety of girls regardless of how unlikely the relationship or different our personalities. I ignored these glaring issues, because I viewed a successful relationship as key to staying in Pittsburgh which was my ultimate desire. In the process, I created some awkward situations, that I regret, and never got a relationship to work out anyways. In fact, it was ignoring one large difference, with a girl very similar to my self, that made me finally realize it was a problem. Sometimes it takes an amazing person to help you see your own faults, which I believe was certainly the case here. Fortunately, it has resulted in a great friend who I'm extremely thankful for. Regardless, it made me see that no matter how badly I wanted to make things work out that sometimes they just don't. God had been waiting for me to stop trying to control my circumstances. Finally, with some help, I was willing to accept Pittsburgh may not be the place I was meant to be.
So, where does this leave me in the meantime? Honestly, I do not know. I will be applying to programs for Higher Ed for Fall 2014, beginning in August. Some are reasonably close (Ohio St.), while others are much further away (Colorado State). I'm seeking a program that's funded, in an urban area, and that will allow me to focus on Student Affairs. I recognize that those plans could change and that I may end up doing something else. And that's ok too. God works in miraculous ways, and I understand that what happens may end up being something I never considered. Actually, when the dust settles, there's always the chance that I could end up in Pittsburgh after all. However, I do know one thing, it's not easy to be away from Pittsburgh. Although not a native of the 'Burgh, I have come to identify it as my home since starting at Pitt. I miss the sites, the people, and the passion. It's hard to not be able to walk through Schenley Park, eat at Primanti's, or listen to the sounds of crowded Oakland streets buzzing with excitement. Still, I believe that God is preparing me for something greater than I currently can imagine. Sure, maybe it won't be pleasant or fun initially, but I believe it will be rewarding. I'm no longer idolizing Pittsburgh, and staying there, but I still have a deep love for it. No matter where I go I will root for the Steelers, Pirates, and Pitt (even when they inevitably break my heart). I will remember the people that have touched my heart and changed my life, and I won't forget all the great times I've had. Now, as a new chapter begins, I will move forward and embrace it. The road goes ever on and on...