“The truth about it is, whether we is rich or poor or somethin in between, this earth ain’t no final restin place. So in a way, we is all homeless–just workin our way toward home.” ― Denver Moore
There are, regretfully, only a few scenes in life that startle and awaken the spirit within each of us to take spiritual stock in one’s life, especially when we are moving just a little too fast. One of those moments surprised me last week during my usual run of wearing my amazing hats.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I like to respond that I have the best job(s) in the world. Like many people I know, I am juggling several plates in the air anytime at which they could all come crashing down leaving an unfathomable mess to clean and pick up the pieces. Thankfully, that is not what I am going to tell you about today.
I am blessed to be able to help more than a small number of people save their homes, mortgages, and stay in their homes and keep them from joining the homeless statistics that are growing in our country. For the most part, my clients are just you and me who have fallen on very unexpected times and found themselves in situations that they would never have imagined. Added to that remarkable itinerary and weekly array of encounters includes Hospice visits, which basically help people deal with their own end-of-life issues with marvelous experiences, some of which I have written to you earlier in this collection of inspirational posts.
This past week, something surprised me and while it was unravelling, I knew I had to write to you all about it. I witnessed an eviction with all the usual players and actors that you might imagine would be present. There was the property manager, with the landlord, law enforcement, a few over-curious neighbors, with the backdrop of a large pile of what used to be the belongings of a small family. I knew that, not because I saw any of them during the awkward and unsettling process, but because there were toys and baby bottles strewn about the discarded evidence of life along with a couple of family photos taken at a clearly much better time of their lives. I was heartbroken not because I knew families like this one, but also because I felt powerless knowing that this scene was probably being repeated all over the city. Even though this drama was unfolding, I had a job to do. This particular day had me collecting some signed documents, processing a few rental assistance agreements, delivering a check, and being on my somewhat-tempered and not-so-merry way.
My next stop was the hospice central office to collect a list of patients to see the next week and to review their medical conditions before I was to call each one of them at home or at the facility where they were living. I put all my paperwork from the day in a somewhat orderly particular and personal filing system in my back seat and proceeded home. There I was greeted by an orange tabby feline which seemed eager to see me, although I knew that all the fawning was just cat-language for “play with me, feed me, and then leave me alone!”
I love the subtle slowing down of the day right before dusk when nature starts to wind down and gets ready for a silvery moon to rule the night. I must have dozed off there on the couch with my little feline friend having returned and this time using the left side of my body as a bunk bed, fast asleep. It was also then that I remembered my makeshift back-seat filing system and quickly went outside to retrieve it. It was a clear and cool night with only a handful of visible stars in the sky, slightly blinking and perhaps engaging in a stellar concert of peace and beautiful celestial silence.
I must have made more than a few sharp turns during the day because when I opened my briefcase on my dining room table, the different layers of paperwork that I had left there were scattered and from a little distance it looked like a deck of cards about to be dealt. What I thought significant were two things: I must have mistakenly been given a copy of the eviction notice from the afternoon event from the property manager, and a copy of a doctor’s report for one of my patients marked “urgent” had landed side by side. Both the eviction paper and the report told me the rest of the story that I needed to read to put this remarkable day in meaningful perspective.
The young, displaced family had been jobless, without a vehicle, alone with no extended family and behind on their rent for nearly five months and fortunately had saved enough money to take a bus to North Carolina to live with her grandparents to start life all over. That would explain why so many of their personal items were left behind. The urgency of my patient was also stunning. I was told to make sure she had everything in spiritual and emotional order, especially in the next two weeks because that was apparently going to be the remaining days she had on earth.
Although I was relatively and appropriately tired from the day, I could tell there was something relevant and worthwhile going on here that I just did not want to miss, first to share with all of you, and for me personally to remember. After a certain age, it is as if we all have been served notices to vacate. All our lives are composed of change and movement and restless hearts beating for new chapters of mystery and love. Remember all those changes in life that caused great anxiety and gloom in our hearts? Maybe there is a steady purpose behind every change we face no matter how great or minute, or even seemingly insignificant.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus pointed out in 500 BC that everything is constantly shifting, and becoming something other to what it was before. Like a river, life flows ever onwards, and while we may step from the riverbank into the river, the waters flowing over our feet will never be the same waters that flowed even one moment before. Heraclitus concluded that since the very nature of life is change, to resist this natural flow was to resist the very essence of our existence. “There is nothing permanent except change,” he said.
And so, I would submit that all our lives we face eviction from one mindset to another, from one identity to something better, from one set of memories to ones that are supremely more wonderful and refreshing.
Everything changes until it doesn’t. And that my friends will be Heaven.
“…sometimes changes bring rivers of tears, feelings of helplessness and despair, but paradoxically, it is precisely in the transition that we build our power and our happiness. Not a power and a happiness ‘external’ and therefore fragile, but ‘internal’, deep and stable…” Micaela Becattini
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