I often tell people that my work situation is ideal, that it is absolutely fantastic to be able to enjoy the benefits both of the city of Philly as well as the comforts and quiet of Belvidere. Folks readily assent to the perceived benefit of being to be able to have time in and away from both, of having a physical boundary that separates me from a half-time ministry job, making it impossible for me to overwork myself for not enough compensation.
But the honest truth is that this is only half the story. The truth is that I like being kept busy, I like doing things, and that the separation can at times feel like isolation. When I began my work, I was also taking a unit of CPE, which kept me as busy in Philly as Belvidere. And while I often joked that I “couldn’t wait to be free of CPE,” it is only a week out and I am feeling trapped in the city. Trapped by the reality that I don’t have a whole lot of friends in the Philadelphia-area, or even in Belvidere for that matter. Trapped by the reality that I don’t have much to do while my husband is at work. Trapped by the reality that I feel as though this life has in some ways been imposed upon me rather than chosen, as though I am missing out on something important: proximity to my family, close relationships with distant friends, you name it.
And while I don’t relish the pity party, it can be difficult to extricate myself once I find myself there. I find myself getting angry at my husband, jealous that in his work he is surrounded by his friends, that he feels no urgency to leave and come back to me in the way that I urgently desire him to come home–because, unlike him, he is perhaps my only close friend in this city. And to admit that makes me want to weep, because I feel guilty, as though perhaps it is my fault I don’t have more friends, as though I shouldn’t feel this way.
Ultimately, I remain confident that things will sort themselves out; they always do. But it is difficult to fine myself in the interim, to find myself unable to see the shape that the other side of this feeling might take. All I can really do is trust that God is working all things to the good, even this, and that ultimately, something new and beautiful can be wrought even in the most angsty and deepest feelings of isolation.