Running in a New Place

 

It doesn’t take long.

For newness to wear off.

 

And here I am

In a place

That doesn’t yet feel quite

Like it fits.

 

I don’t have a library card.

I am scared of going grocery shopping. (Someday I’m not going to have a looney with me and how will I get a shopping cart and then what? Huh, people? THEN WHAT?)

I have a job but I’m never quite sure if I’m doing it right.

Why are there always so many people walking everywhere? (I think I would feel much more comfortable in the city if there were fewer people.)

 

But I’ve been to Ikea three times

And I’ve been to Dollarama twice.

I’ve seen it rain here.

I’ve felt the cloaking humidity.

I’ve laughed here,

And I’ve felt like crying here.

 

These things count for something.

 

Tonight the air smells like the most like fall that it has all year,

And the sky is deep dark blue

And the street lamps are a friendly shade of orange

And the wind feels like

It’s got something mysterious tangled up in it.

 

I’ve been hiding away in our apartment,

And I’m tired of the way that feels.

 

So I lace up my shoes.

I strap on my armband.

And out I go into the night.

 

There are people to run past.

There are stop signs and crosswalks

And many vehicles pulling into their driveways. (I like the thought of all those people coming home, because coming home is such a good feeling.)

 

The warmth comes to my muscles at a different time than that other route I used to run,

But it still comes and running isn’t stiff anymore,

It’s natural.

 

The tiredness and the bursts of energy also arrive at different points than I am used to,

But they are familiar when they come.

 

It sure would be easy to trip and fall

As I run

On these unfamiliar, uneven sidewalks

In the blue evening light.

But if I watch where I’m going,

I’ll be fine.

 

The ups and the downs and ins and outs are different.

But they are also kind of the same.

Running in a new place isn’t so bad, after all.

 

 

When it’s all said and done,

I sit outside my door (right under the light even though anyone driving by could see me),

And I think about how

Now

This place has seen me sweat

And heard me breathe hard

And felt my feet pound.

 

It feels just a little bit more like I belong with this place.

 

It feels like…

I want to do this again.

Soon.

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Briers and Thorns

When I read all those “do not be afraid” Bible verses, do you know what I want them to mean?

I want them to mean, “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Nothing ugly enough, nothing powerful enough, nothing dangerous enough to actually break me. Now that idea is comforting and empowering.

But I don’t think that those verses are saying that.

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I know that I have been protected and surrounded by beautiful things my whole life, but I am aware that there is much unthinkable ugliness and power and danger out there.

Things that destroy and kill in the worst ways. Things that human hearts cannot endure.

And so those “do not be afraid” Bible verses? I can’t believe that they mean that we are immune to the evil and the awful around us.

We just aren’t.

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Look at these verses from Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 2:6-7

And you, son, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed by their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.

God straight-up tells Ezekiel that there are going to be briers and thorns, scorpions, words, and looks.

Things that are going to make him feel small and vulnerable.

But He still tells Ezekiel not to be afraid.

That’s why I don’t believe that when God says, “Do not be afraid,” He means, “There is nothing to be afraid of”.

I think He means something more like, “There are many things to be afraid of, and it’s not easy out there, but I’m more powerful than any of those other things, and I am with you, and that is the strongest and most valuable protection you could ever have. Do not be afraid.”

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Briers and thorns, scorpions, words, and looks.

They’re real. They’re out there.

And yes, they’re against you. (Sorry if this is discouraging…)

Do not be afraid.

We have Someone inside us, Someone who has covered the earth with His grace and love, Someone who has no beginning and no end.

A Spirit so deep and so wide that nothing else can even compete.

Do not be afraid.

2 Timothy  1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

 

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Adjustments

Sometimes when you are in a new place,

The shadows seem bigger and more active.

It seems lighter and darker at the same time

And there are different creaks in different places than you are used to.

And sometimes,

When you are in a new place,

You are so tired from getting to that place

That you fall asleep anyways

Even though it seems a vulnerable and brave thing to do.

-Jasmine Martin

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Well, we have been living in Toronto for just over a week now.

Our apartment felt surprisingly homey right from the get go, which was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t sure if it would or not. We are currently in the dangerous stage of settling in, where the vast majority of our belongings have been put away and we are functioning smoothly and comfortably, but there’s still a lot of random stuff sitting around that doesn’t have a place yet.

I’m just grateful that we are as “put away” as we are. For awhile there, I was regularly hitting my baby toes on the edges of boxes. I could get most of my body around the boxes just fine, but not my baby toes. I also kept hitting my hands on the door knobs around here. Apparently, I really become accustomed to the geography of the space I regularly occupy, and when everything changes, I’m a wreck. I’ve been working on choosing to be spatially aware, and I think it’s helping.

Right now, I’m thinking about the past week and what it has felt like to be here. I don’t feel like I have done any real exploring yet, besides going to Hakim Optical, Ikea, No Frills, Home Sense, Dollarama, and a library. Those places are not super special places though, if you know what I mean.

There do seem to be many nice things about being here.

I like that everything is only 1.8 kilometers away.

I like that there are lots of lovely old trees on our street and I’m excited to see the leaves turn pretty colours.

I like that there are all kinds of people around here.

I like the beautiful, smart children that I get to be with all week.

I like that our apartment has air-conditioning and a bathtub.

I like the rainbow that shows up on our floor when the sun shines through the windows on our door just right.

I like that it all feels like a fresh start somehow. (Ricky and I have decided to be grownups now. It involves making our bed every morning and washing dishes regularly and so far has been going okay but Ricky is generally better at it than I am, which is annoying, but also makes sense because he is older than I am.)

I like our nice landlords.

I like our Sunday morning drive to church.

There are also things that I don’t really like.

I don’t like driving to work and back from work on busy roads that I am not overly familiar with yet.

On that note… I don’t like not knowing where anything is. I can’t wait to be more familiar with this area.

I don’t like going to a different grocery store.

I don’t like making mistakes, but I’m really trying to be okay with them and not be too hard on myself for not knowing things that I haven’t learned yet. If you don’t know… you just don’t know. Get over it. Figure it out. Learn it. It’s okay. It helped that today, Instagram seemed to be full of other people who were making mistakes too, and working on giving themselves grace. We are all just humans.

I don’t like parking within three meters of a fire hydrant. Sigh. (Learned that lesson. Never again. To be fair, it was kind of a subtle fire hydrant.)

… You know what?

That’s about all I can think of that I don’t like!

I’m going to post a few pictures of our apartment for those of you who are curious. I took these a day or two after we moved, so it looks a little more put together at this point. If you want to know what it looks like with everything put away, you’ll just have to come visit. That’s all there is to it.

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When you come in the door, there are steps that you need to go down to get to our apartment.
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This is the room where we keep our bikes and other paraphernalia. (But not quite so much paraphernalia as you see in this photo.)
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This is our kitchen. It is very spacious horizontally, but not quite so spacious vertically, if you know what I mean. Also, that is a Ricky in the kitchen. I like him and I’m sure glad that I brought him along with me.
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This is our living room.  We have found it to be a very pleasant room for living.
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This is our bedroom, which, crazily enough, is almost the same colour as the butterfly blue bedroom we left behind in Hawkesville. 

There you have it, folks.

The beginning of Toronto.