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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

mugging & masculinity

Painting by George Bellows

Today marks my one month being here in beautifully crazy New York City!

So far I have lost my phone and Rx glasses in a cab, locked myself out of my apartment for six hours, been stuck on a subway train/gotten lost in the subway system and of course, gotten mugged.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions - this stuff hardly happens in NYC anymore. NYC is a much safer city than it used to be and my experience has just been uniquely misfortunate (though it has happened to any real New Yorker in the past). I prefer to think of it as a Rapid Residency Program-it's how they help new residents adapt to their new life in the city.

But on to the reason why I am posting...

Being mugged for the first time in my life (knowing it was going to happen) has shaken me up. In reality it was two teen boys who used no weapons, threats or force - they were merely looking for cash. Unfortunately for me, they got my laptop and passport instead (the passport was in the bag).

I could have screamed, ran away, tried to fight them off (trusting they had no weapons) - but I wanted it to be over so I gave in. To be honest I feel raped - violated - and weak. Any sense of masculinity I had - has swept away - though it is creeping back day by day.

I immediately believed it was my fault for carrying my laptop with me, walking alone at night, not fighting them off, not having enough muscles, etc. For the first day or so I have replayed the incident over and over which has led to tears and even made it hard for me to leave the apartment the next day.

As I work with police - I feel more empowered again and am still working on gaining my sense of masculinity - which has proved difficult because that was an issue for me before the incident occurred. It helps to talk about this openly with other men - but I found it hard to talk to my "straight" roommate about it in fear he would judge I wasn't manly enough. I got over that and humbled myself to ask for a blessing after talking to him about it. Things are looking brighter as I continue forward knowing that God's got my back.

This has actually been one of those blessings in disguise as I have asked the Lord what I am to learn from all of this - the obvious answer is humility. I have been slipping down the darkened path and taking upon me the flaxen cords of temptation and sin for the last few months prior to moving and definitely since being here.

I know the Lord loves me so much that He would allow such events to happen in an effort to "wake me up before I go go" too far. I started reading "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robinson again - it has definitely helped to remind me of the true meaning of the Atonement of Christ - who Christ is and what He is not only truly capable of doing but what He is doing for me now and especially when I love and follow Him.

Being excommunicated I have had a hard time remembering how to recognize or feel the spirit- let alone have it stay with me. As I have placed my "sacrifice" upon the alter and humbled my unworthy self before the Lord - I have found that comfort, peace and healing I need.

I know that despite my weaknesses - struggles - shortcomings and lack of faith - the Lord created me as a man. I am a man - but most importantly I am a son of God.

You have been caught Jey Walking!