i have not arrived.

i have lived in five (and a half) places in my lifetime (at least that I can recall,) for various durations of time:

604 Kenway Ave (1991-99/2000)

214 Mt Vernon Road (2000-2001?)

3161 Peggy Flats Road (2001-2012)

217 Churchill Dr #1 (2012-2014)

102 Delmont Dr (2014-2015)

366 S Broadway Park (2015-present)

In my life I’ve had a lot of consistency – in the first four houses, I was living with family. In the second to last, I moved in with a couple of guys who were almost complete strangers, but we became best friends and brothers, and then this house has been a revolving door of roommates because of jobs, engagements, and the like. more on roommates later, though.

So, as you may be able to imagine and/or understand, I have a lot of sentiment about the last couple of places, because they were where I started to experience adulthood. I never made a rent payment until 2014, at the age of 23. I was on my own for once, no family to be my safety net – I was supported by friends and family, but from afar. They weren’t in my house now.

When we moved out of Delmont, I made an 11-minute video on our last night, going through and reminiscing on memories made in that house. That was where roommate A played that stupid song. Remember that time we had Pop Punk Monday? That was where the Wii U sat, and I hit it all of the time with soccer balls. This is where the couch was, where I had that cute girl over to watch a movie. This is how we set up the couches when we had our first roommate meeting. I remember eating cold cut sandwiches and drinking Mexican cokes in my room the first few weeks living here.

On and on, the memories all gushed forward – painting a beautiful picture of the year I had been fortunate enough to spend in that house, with those people.

In this apartment, it’s a little less straight forward.

Oh, quick aside: I’m moving in a month. Hence this post. Our landlord is terminating our least to do “extensive remodeling.”

This apartment doesn’t have all of the fond memories, but a few.

This apartment is an amalgamation of the night Britt and I sat and watched a movie while drinking beer and eating chips, commemorating the eminent move (I had moved in, he hadn’t just yet;) the thrill of getting a puppy, and the frustrations of dog ownership (the kid is a destructive tornado;) the anxiety of being away from church; the weight of my first major sexual mishap; the bittersweetness of the walk to and from the Starbucks three doors down, which I made to write, I made when my girlfriend stayed the night and we got morning coffee, I made since I didn’t feel like driving in to work to get coffee, etc; the sadness of living for one short month with one of my best friends, Travis, who moved to Michigan; the frustration, anger, and sadness of the breakup of 2015; the near-athiesm that came as a consequence of pre-mentioned moral failures, laziness, apathy, and cynicism towards the church; the courage, hope, and optimism I found in long walks down Broadway with a sparkling water in one hand and a podcast in both ears (the Liturgists podcast has been instrumental in me regaining my faith;) the walk down Broadway to Rupp Arena for my first ever Kentucky basketball game; the walk down Broadway to Hopcat on Monday nights with my friends, the walk down Broadway onto Bolivar to the beginning of Mill St which I took all the way to its end down by Third St. – the Walk Down Broadway.

I’ll miss that walk down Broadway. There’s a bit of me that loves it because it’s genuinely nice, and a bit of me that holds on to it because sometimes I feel it gives me an excuse and a means to still feel pain, to still doubt, to wonder, to explore, etc. It helps me come to terms with the fact that life ain’t always pretty, but as I ponder its non-prettiness, I pass by lamp-posts and arrive at the big culture hub we call Triangle Park.

But today, I made that walk for what may be one of the last few times, and I realize – sometimes you have to let that sort of stuff go. Sometimes you have to let seasons fulfill their potential, or make the most of them while you have them, and then move on. I can’t stay here.

I can’t stay in a place of potential relapse into fits of anger and bitterness, I can’t stay in a place of cynicism towards the church, I can’t stay in a place of isolation from the people I called family back home in my old city. No, I need to visit them. I need to fuse the two realities together, because I am the same person I have always been, just in a new place. No longer will I attempt to forge a new reality or a new personality – I’m happy to have been through what I’ve been through, and I’m happy to come back to a reality where I found peace, joy, and fruit before. I may have rejected my church history a while back, but I embrace it now.

I embrace it because what I’m finding to be true is that people who know who you are are people who hold you most accountable to be who you are. At Delmont, the great thing about living with brothers was that we all called each other up – we encouraged each other, exhorted one another with scripture, we vented our frustrations, but we always ended up back at the same end – Jesus.

That was true before I moved to Lexington, and it carried me through the first year. The second year was harder because I let go of the church’s hand – I decided I didn’t want it or need it. But I do. Some of the doubts still exist, I still examine issues more thoroughly and progressively than I had done before, but I realize that I need the church. I need people who know who I am, and I can’t be afraid of who I am. I may not be a preacher with a pulpit again, but I’m not meant for an existence of not truth-telling. I may embrace doubt, but I also embrace truth. I embrace that I don’t know some things, but I embrace that I do know some things.

The last year – with all the failures and uncertainties – has been an introspective, quiet year. Things have changed for the better, yes – but some things are dead ends that I will be happy to leave behind. In some ways, I’m coming back home to who I’ve always been, with a renewed sense of purpose and a renewed understanding of why I believe and hold tight to the things I’ve always done.

And I know that it’s a journey – I have by no means arrived: I will likely turn down a wrong path at some point and have to backtrack; I will likely go down a dead and and turn around, but that’s part of it. I know what I’m doing.

And I’m thankful, ultimately, that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of my faith. It was His idea, and just like a good author, He can navigate the twists and turns of the story, He can paint the negatives into positives, and He knows exactly how it’s all ending.

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