one day

yesterday we moved into our new apartments, the place we have set our eyes on since we visited in June.

it was a day. due to circumstances it was basically just us moving, me packing and scrubbing, the husband carrying and loading and driving and unloading, time and time again. the baby either cried or unpacked or sat happily with her sesame friends, and i felt proud and exhausted and disheartened all at the same time. moving alone does this to a body.

we have long said we are on a journey of downward mobility and now our mettle is being tested. paper-thin walls, smoky hallways, bent-up burners that make it hard to cook, doors with holes in them, no dishwashers or fancy things here. we are on the ground floor, our windows just above the earth outside, which enchants the 2-year old as squirrels run by.  but the building is old, heated by water and radiators, no controls to be found in the apartment. there was a cold snap, and as a result, the apartment was sweltering. i thought of the book i so often read the baby, and i realized we could easily have a green house up in here. but i unlocked the windows and let the biting air in, the sounds of the city coming along with it. i wonder why everyone else has bars in their windows but ours don’t. i shut and lock them as we leave.

we went out to get a bite, because we realized we didn’t own things like ice-cube trays or trash cans, and we were tired. people thronged in the corners, shouting and laughing, we walked by quickly, hurriedly. i felt afraid, truth be told.

back in the apartment, i can hear the neighbors. hear them talking about the new people moving in, wondering why we are here. they are not happy, they don’t understand. a couple of weeks ago another little family moved in upstairs, people who look and act like us. a bunch of freaks, the neighbors said, and i crouched like a rabbit, frozen, caught where i was not supposed to be. the thoughts i never wanted spoken aloud, right outside my door.

and i get it, why would i expect people to be happy just because i have shown up?

in the dark, i had many thoughts about the people and places we left, the support systems we had in place back in Portland, the way we had been invited into the lives of others. what hubris is this, to try and insert ourselves into a place that feels to me as foreign as Timbuktu, everybody else speaking the same language of survival, me trying to speak the language of the soul. but it’s survival time for us, right now, and we could stand to learn a lot.

we shut our windows, sweated the night through and through. the bed we bought broke. the baby woke up at 3, and then at 5 (this time for good). the husband left for a job interview, because we need money. the baby and i took a brisk walk through the leaves, some of the first people to wander in the morning. and it felt so different, and a tiny part of it started to feel good.

we have been here one day.

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16 thoughts on “one day

  1. Maybe you need to learn their survival skills and they can catch your soul… and the sharing could be good. But that will take some time, obviously. What a day. When we make these downward movements sometimes we want it to feel good, worthwhile in each chore and gesture. But somedays it just feels hard, feels like being stripped. For a season my most cherished image of Jesus was from the stations of the cross, the one where he stood stripped. I felt it, and took comfort in knowing he knew what I felt. And it was good to remember that stripping was part of the salvific arc that lead through cross to Sunday. We can’t avoid Jerusalem when we follow Jesus through to resurrection… but my heart is with you.

  2. Annie says:

    Grateful for your telling here, the hard and the good and the inbetween. It means a lot to me, your telling it, as I process and pray about our next steps, and this thing of mobility. You teach me much.

  3. Hannah says:

    Hug!!! I am sure many of those same folks have been on the receiving end of your experiences..

  4. Sarah K says:

    Breathe in, breathe out. One day.

  5. Sweet Dee, I’m so very sorry for all this. I know it’s all part of the process and the experience, but it still hurts and feels overwhelming. That feeling of displacement can be so discouraging. I can’t believe you heard your neighbors talking, it’s like a scene from a movie!!! I hope belonging comes soon and that in the meantime you have peace and provision.

  6. J.R. Goudeau says:

    Love you. And love this. Praying for you.

  7. you put words to my thoughts! It was refreshing to read this in a very strange way. We are in the exact same position as you, minus the cold and ability to walk to a store. And if you have indoor plumbing you have one up on me too:) I am with you sister, in more ways than you can imagine. Know that the next few weeks will be H.A.R.D. as you couldn’t have prepared for truly living what you have been dreaming about. At least that is how its been for us. But also know, that one day in the near future the things that seem very hard right now will begin to feel easy and it will feel like home. Praying for you!

  8. audreyhipbone says:

    It’s a day to go forward.

  9. i love that you write about the one horrible day, because the next day is better. but if, sometimes it is not, it’s okay to write about that one too. love you and praying for you!

  10. Puneet says:

    Prayers for you and your family, especially after reading the news about your sister-in-law. Hang in there!

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