Today I want to begin to dissect aspects of my original blog, clarifying so that you can begin to clearly see the journey we are on.
In yesterdays sharing I mentioned that we are “homeless” in the conventional sense. What does that mean exactly and how could I let that happen? Well, it all began last November when my job shifted from being a full time salaried Office Manager to becoming a part-time Territorial Sales Representative. This shift meant that I spent two days on the road getting to and from the territory I covered and living in a hotel room for the weeks I did not have my children. My employer offered me the position full time, however as a divorced single mom I could not move my children away from the area we lived and I was absolutely not willing to sacrifice any time with my children. To fill the financial gap during the weeks I was “home” I juggled two restaurant jobs when they could schedule me. Long story short, the situation took its toll on us in many ways, financially, mentally, and physically, pushing me to evaluate again what were the most important things in my life.
I must jump back in time to share that in 2008 I lost my job, in 2009 I lost our family home, then later in 2009 I watched our white Honda CRV get pulled away, with tears rolling quietly down my cheeks I wondered if the $1.76 in my pocket would keep us off the streets. Thanks to friends and family we were blessed to housesit, find a home to rent, and managed to keep food on the table. During the course of this journey I faced the reality of how true homelessness happens, how all that we identify ourselves with can be ripped away no matter how hard you work or how authentically you live. At this time my children were nine and six years old, a tough time to have the world turn upside down. As a woman I journeyed the reality of how in our society we identify ourselves by “what we do” and as a mother I realized how much emphasis we put on “what we provide” – it was an awakening time for coming home to the real truths of we are not our jobs and we are not our possessions. As I humbly walked the path of losing “everything,” I came to understand that the only thing that truly mattered is how I spent my time with those I loved and held dear. It all simplified to how do I keep my children fed, clothed, and safe while spending quality present time with them. We could live in a tent, with friends, in a one bedroom apartment; it did not matter as long as we were together. (Look to future posts for more on this powerful experience.)
So, here I was again in 2014 on the precipice of homelessness and doing all I could to find a new job. I applied for new jobs every week, sometimes up to five in one week. Gone were the days of getting a job in person, everything was on line and each resume and cover letter must be unique to the position. I spent many 3:00am mornings completing online tests for positions, writing cover letters, re-organizing my resume, and selling myself in hopes of finding a job that would allow me to provide for my family. Nothing….. My gracious landlord worked with me as I struggled forth. My dad helped me out and friends humbled me to my knees with their generosity. Ugh…I hated it!! Here I was again! Damn! I looked in the mirror, I saw a good woman, I saw a person with great work ethic, the reflection showed a kind, compassionate, honest sincere human – why could I not get a job that would ease our struggles???
March 31st, 2015 found me walking the wooden floors of our echoing empty home. I looked at the bare white walls, listening to the memories that had taken place in this space called home. I ran my hand across the window pane where a year earlier we had looked out with hope at our new yard. I breathed in the ear shattering silence as I locked the door behind me at midnight to leave behind another home that had cradled us on our life journey. My children were with their dad, our dogs were living with friends, and I climbed into the car to drive the vacant streets to our new home for the next 2-3 months. Sliding my key into the locks I entered the home of dear friends, stealthily I walked to the bedroom where I would share a room with my son. Down the hall my daughter would bunk with her friend and in the last bedroom the couple who graciously offered us a home slept as I climbed into my bed that rested on the floor. Thanks to these very dear friends, we are not homeless! They welcomed us into their three bedroom, one bath, 1300 square foot home with gracious loving kindness. It has now almost been two months since we made this move and I can only say that I sit in AWE, GRATITUDE, and immense LOVE for the blessings in our lives. There is a profound thing that happens when you “lose” all the stuff that we use in this society to identify ourselves, you are vulnerably blown wide open to find the truth that resides within your heart, a truth that expands your ability to love and be grateful. While most would see us as having nothing, I experience us as being wealthy beyond what words can express.