Surprise turn of events in more than one way. This seems to have happened within 2 weeks time and I did not foresee my life heading this way right now but that’s what happens when you give up the reins. I was approached by one of my dear friends from church about a residential mentor position. So, after applying that evening, getting a follow-up call that same week, interviewing the following week and then receiving the position 3 days after the interview, I will be jumping into this new experience. To add to this transition, my relationship of a year and a half has come to an end and while I am heartbroken, I’m trying to focus on this new course in the pursuit of growth.
This apartment….whew. When I moved here in the summer of 2015, I was not ready for such significant change and the depths to which I would experience growth here. This was my first apartment with a female roommate and not a boyfriend.
My bedroom floor? That’s where I would often find myself in a crying stupor, distraught over the loss of my mom and also terribly hurt by my coinciding breakup. I filled this room with my first bedroom set and new mattress. The mint green sheets I picked out from Target and couldn’t stop obsessing over. This room is where I hung the picture I painted on what would have been my mom’s birthday, the month she passed away. Finally, it was where I would fall to my knees in prayer, sadness, and depression at times. Crying out for peace, strength, and any other feeling except hurt. Did that happen? Eventually, yes. Did I wish it happened much quicker? Absolutely. Yet….if we rose so quickly after struggles, what would be the glory in rising after falling? That moment would just become another moment in a week in another series of days. So no, that part of the hurt and suffering is non-negotiable and I will never sugarcoat that pain. It was an awfully scary time but my people are good people so I owe a large part of my heart mending to them.
Let’s move on to the living room. It has some of my most favorite things. A short but sturdy bookshelf that weighs probably more than me, overflowing with books that I’m still searching to find room for or constantly sharing with others. The Papasan chair that I picked up just down the street from me. The couch where not only personal possessions have gotten lost (glad I found my iPod!), but people too. It was where I consoled my crying roommate as she told her break-up story that nearly mirrored mine and as she, like myself and my previous roommate, struggled to make our hearts whole again. Yes, this apartment has been a haven for those of us who were looking for a do-over, a new beginning after the tangled relationship web that was woven, and a reminder that we were not defined by those who broke us. It became a place to make those discoveries that had been lying within us. The lava needing the perfect temperature and circumstances before it could break through the cracks of the surface, destroying everything, including our old selves, in its wake. I had no intention of this place becoming the center of my healing. I thought it was simply a temporary stop before I landed elsewhere. I had no desire for anything resembling permanence, or semi-permanence for that matter because the idea of something lasting was nearly laughable. I had lost love and goodness from two figures I felt were going to be around forever. One left this world too soon and the other had no intention of building a life with me as promised. Permanence didn’t sound like what I wanted at all.
The kitchen is…..tiny. But tiny vessels can hold great memories too. Like when myself and two other young women moved my new-to-me dining room set consisting of 4 chairs, a large wooden base, and an equally large glass table top…..all by ourselves. It made it safely back from a 45-minute roundtrip excursion and I was so proud. That other time when our stove busted, followed by our dishwasher and then our stove once more (though not as badly but I am sensing a theme here). Or, not long ago, when I learned you can’t boil milk in a tea kettle on high because it will shoot right out of the spout, make a smelly disgusting mess, and leave you and your friends in fits of laughter. I’ve fed my friends here (and also been fed!), told stories over bottles of wine, and oh the dancing. The dancing has been one of my most favorite things to do in this apartment.
So yes, my apartment became more than I thought I would allow it to be. I feel I only knew the definition of home when I lived with my family and had yet to discover what that looked like on my own. Since moving out here, I have felt somewhat restless. Clearly, it was because some deep changes needed to take place in my life, such as letting go of that which was no longer bringing me happiness. And now, I can truly feel what a home can be. It can be permanent or not. Transient or ever-lasting. An apartment, trailer, or house. Small, large, or in between. A home allows for mistakes and messes. It lets you be your barest self in your search for grace. It doesn’t make you feel imperfect or unworthy but rather, it is a jumping point for something bigger. Maybe you glance down at the water below for a long, long time, debating if it’s right for you. Each time you discover something more about yourself, you step a little bit closer to the ledge. Then, finally, you close your eyes and jump. This is me, jumping off the ledge, with no certainty of where I’ll land but knowing I’ll be completely held in the process.