New York can be raw, the blunt in your face stripped to the bare essentials kind of raw.
You can always tell when someone’s a “plebe”. Words to describe them usually include the following; bravado, loud, arrogant, conspicuous, and extremely confident. They believe they are in control! New York has nothing on them. There is no reason to worry or walk in fear. Nothing bad can or will happen.
Then reality strikes. The sophomore in New York acts very differently. Sometime during the period after their arrival it was as if everyone knew “the time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles—the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, all the world's finest in fabrics and design.” (Isaiah 3.18-23) What is left is simple the individual, slightly bruised, more or less whole, and covered but not dressed. In short his and her soul sits out in the open, available for examination, exposed to what life may yet give.
For some the process is too much. My neighbor from Alabama lasted almost three weeks. She went back to find comfort in the safety of home. Her roommate ran to the last place of safety. Everything now goes on as if they were never here. For others the process extracts a price from their souls. You often find the etchings left if their eyes or in the silence found between the words and conversations.
All in all New York is doing them a favor. It is when we see ourselves open, exposed, and raw that we stand closest to real Hope. We have this within our grasp but the process of seeing our true “self” provides the foundation for making a decision to live in ways that are real, honest, and complete. Yesterday’s casualness will get you killed in New York. It isn’t very different anywhere one is these days.
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