homelessness: the space between

One month ago yesterday, with weight in our eyes and wings in our hearts, Dave and I handed over the keys to our beloved home’s new owner. Since then, we have slept in five different hotels, two different AirBnB’s, and one cottage across a total of eight states. This does not count the many other nights throughout June we spent sleeping on our best friends’ floor on an air mattress, floating, unanchored in a homeless sky.

The transition has been sloppily packaged, wrapped in soft cloth of denial. Our friends shared private glances, eyes asking the question Dave and I did a subtle and private dance of avoiding: “When are they going to pack?” Scattered all over their house were our belongings: laundry baskets and suitcases and toiletries and bins and boxes of tissues and dirty clothes and books and phone chargers and remaining kitchen goods, knuckled roots of a thirsty tree expanding wide, a deep ache for soil and earth.

I write this as we make the cross-country drive: Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois. There are goodbyes to be had there, too. However, there is no home to which I return. Even in the place I was born, I am homeless. In the GPS of my heart, there is a void where my parents used to be, where my sister used to be.

We look forward to the peace and quiet and stillness of Dave’s parents’ home. There, we will find air and sun and moisture to nurture our transplanted roots. But, still, we will be homeless, hovering between here and there, then and now.

On the 22nd of this month, we will walk into our new place, a beautiful and modern two-story apartment that overlooks the juxtaposition of verdant trees and steely high rises, a cityscape version of a middle school dance.

Then, we will be home.

Until then, even then, I will breath in and out, grounded in that which never changes: Presence.

 

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breath. earth.

Lately I’ve been stepping on a lot of crap–cords and belts and shoes and brooms and oh, there’s my underwear. This is because the beloved chipping-green-and-red-refuge we’ve called home for the past eight years is currently in the process of being dismantled and divided and donated as we prepare for our adventure to Brazil. I’ve gone to heat water forgetting the microwave is sold; I’ve gone to eat takeout on the plates currently in our friends’ homes; I’ve gone to sit at the table that’s no longer there. We are living in a construction zone: the construction of a new life.

Breathing in. Breathing out. I am grounded.

I am in the process of some heavy goodbyes. Students–who have had way too many people come and go in their lives–asking: Why does everyone leave us? Colleagues who have become friends. Friends who have become family. Family who will become foreigners. Not to mention, the scariest goodbye of all: the adios to urban education–or life as I know it. I wonder if it will be forever. I wonder if there will be regret. I wonder if I’ll be effective with a different population. I wonder how my identity will change.

Breathing in. Breathing out. I am grounded.

We hover near a cliff with unknown horizons. Questions float by like clouds shadowing the reddened landscape. Who will our friends be? How hard will it be to learn the language? What if sickness strikes? What if we hate living in a city? What happens if there is a financial crisis? And dear me, how am I going to look in a swimsuit on a beach in Brazil?!

Breathing in. Breathing out. I am grounded.

Tonight I meditated. As I have done daily for the past four months and twenty-five days. (If you do not have Insight Timer, download. it. now.)  As I was guided into my emotions, a sense of being overwhelmed rose to greet me. It was not the overwhelmed of Mary past. It was different. I am different. It showed itself as a coiled spring, loaded low to the earth with heavy weights. But beneath those compact spirals, a palpable sense of excitement breathed. A readiness to spring forth into something new and exciting and refreshing. An eagerness for expansion and space and adventure. An embrace of joy and hope.

Breathing in. Breathing out. I am grounded.

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