Been A Long Time Comin’

by bxrtley

I wanted this post to wax eloquent in metaphors and imagery that would make your eyes well up in tears. I wanted to have a grand return from my sabbatical of public writing. I wanted you to see this headline in your Twitter timelines, RSS feeds and email subject lines and say, “He’s back!” But that’s not going to happen. The truth is this might get crowded out from the other prominent birds chirping their stories. And you have more pressing emails and news feeds to follow. But for the 1% of you that just might happen to see this, I have six words for you:

After seven years, I finally graduated.

And I didn’t even wear my cap and gown. You know what I wore to begin this new chapter of my life? Business casual clothes with a denim messenger bag. Instead of throwing my cap up in the air, I swiped my card down through a slot. Instead of a grandiose dinner filled with small talk, I ate a simple lunch and had meaningful conversation with a navy veteran. Instead of shaking the university president’s hand with an empty diploma case, I shook my boss’s hand with a heart full of gratitude.

On Sunday I graduated. On Monday I began work. The irony of all this is I didn’t move to NYC to find a job or start a career. I came up here to find myself and the One who called me. But after a while, this spiritual journey turned into a paper chase. I wanted to thrive and escalate a professional ladder for self-reliance and sustainability.

After I let go of that “came here with one pressed suit and a briefcase filled with ambition” narrative, I was able to graduate. Not just with a Masters of Arts degree, but a Submissions to God diploma. The added bonus, which I now believe is designed to keep the latter diploma current, was employment in the public service market. And this was all possible because of submitting to the divine instruction of working full-time, without any stable income, on a ministry that served others and not myself.

So, when will I celebrate? Perhaps on my 30th birthday. But for now, there’s work to be done. Oh and…I’m back.