I went to call her on my cell phone.
There was no one else on the second floor of that miniature hipster coffee shop. Perfect. It would be converted into my office for the day. I ordered my usual latte, dispersed my belongings all around the ground and on top of the table, and propped myself on the couch with legs sprawled out horizontally. I was ready to tear through some of the things on my to-do list, many of those tucked under the “medical logistics” heading I had neglected for several weeks now. I despise dealing with those things with such a strong passion because there is nothing that drives me up the wall more than being placed on hold for hours, feeling like I have medical bills I can’t single-handedly afford, not getting the right information, or being given the round about of circular answers. Most of the time, anything medically related completely stomps on my shut down switch because it tires and overwhelms me. God must have decided to shower down a little extra grace that afternoon because by hour three, I was making some serious progress: new cardiologist found, accounts set up, appointments made for the next three months, insurance providers contacted, and medical records and history in hand with access at the click of a button. They were simply baby steps and small victories, but nonetheless, what I imagine winning the lotto scratcher might be like in the game of adulting.
I wanted to share my mini developments with someone so I picked up the phone to make a call. My naïve self thought she would want to know, or at least take part in some of those tiny triumphs. The phone rang four times before the voice on the other side assumedly answered, “What’s wrong?” And that spilt into an uncomfortable twenty-minute conversation of drawn out negativity and condescension, which ended with, “if you ever go elsewhere, I hope it’s for any other reason than feeling like you don’t want to be around.” I had no words. I wished that statement were all kinds of incorrect. Yet I couldn’t combat it, because I got that sensation in my gut—the one that sits at the bottom of your stomach and pulls you all the way down until nausea takes over because there is no denying truth. It yanks you down so hard that all you can think about is how much you’re not __________ enough; your mind serenading you with songs about all your failures, and melodies she had sung over and over about what you aren’t.
We’re all searching for a place to call home.
I hated admitting it, but staying was always a temporary thing.
For a while, I had been feeling like home was not so much home. But then I began to discover it’s because home is where I felt the most alone.
I learned to be silent. I learned to be invisible. I made a habit to tiptoe around perusing hallways like a ghost, tuning out noises that ran through the air conditioning vents. I had disengaged, quarantined myself to my own space—doors locked and window tight with no access, taxingly tackling all of life out on my own (which was proving to be every kind of difficult and anything but possible).
Home is not what it always seems to be.
It’s strange because I used to think about home as a sturdy shelter over my head, a warm bed to sleep on, and tasty food served on the dining room table. Don’t get me wrong, those are all absolute blessings and I am forever so grateful. But that still doesn’t make a place or the people around you, home. Now I’m realizing more than ever, that home is much deeper and goes beyond those tangible things. Home is being able to receive compassion and understanding even when the people who surround you feel like they don’t necessarily get where you’re coming from. It’s having your heart known, your dreams encouraged, and a plethora of grace with a heaping side of being emotionally supported.
I’m going to repeat that…
It’s truly frightening how much disconnect there can be no matter how long you’ve “known” someone. No matter how long they’ve been around or even if they have seen you grow up—in your childhood, your adolescent years, and then your attempts to navigate adulthood. How you can sit next to them every day, share thousand of meals, and be present in the same vicinity. But still, they can’t fathom one thing that goes on in your world. They don’t seem to comprehend the reasons why you’re hugging all the blankets on your bed swallowing boxes of dark chocolate for breakfast, or why no concealer on earth can fix the cry bags under your eyes. And in brighter moments, they can’t seem to grasp why you’re so stoked on the shot you took on the last adventure you went on. Or, even the purpose in writing and starting this blog. Or why, sometimes, you just need to have a lot of coffee with a lot of good people and have a lot of good conversations. Instead, they just spit out words. And it’s the lack of understanding of whom you are as a human, which contributes to life’s wildfires.
Support is everything; being known is home.
They say that the people who root for you and believe in you, are the ones who push you to keep going and keep giving life your all. They instill glances of hope into you because they’re the ones who permit you to be you. They allow you to feel truly understood. They get your quirks and see your gifts, and accept your whole being—imperfections and all.
The thing is: You should be able to enter a space, feeling fully alive and fully yourself.
You should feel safe about sharing your innermost dialogues—passions, dreams, and ambitions. Even if some of those things seem ridiculous, they’re still very much a part of who you are. You should feel like you can walk into a room and chat about both your daily distresses and conquests, despite how large or small they might be. You should be able to laugh. You should be able to cry. You should feel known. You should feel encouraged, affirmed. You should sense grace. And you should feel supported. Emotionally. Supported.
I think we’re beings that like to swallow lies. At least, I do that a lot. You wake up, and it’s a new day with new mercies but it doesn’t always feel so new. The same places and faces surround you and you get caught up in this routine that everything is just fine. You tell yourself just that: Everything is just fine. But it’s not, because havoc is stirring up inside of you, screwing with your ability to be coherent. You know you have words. You know you have visions. You know you have dreams. But somehow, it’s like you’re prohibited to speak.
You are not meant to be silent.
You are not meant to be invisible.
You are purposed.
My mother used to ask us (my sister and I) to clean and pick things up around the house. I would be so terribly flustered because a lot of junk can accumulate in a house. There would be random toys and contraptions lying in places they clearly shouldn’t be. I’d find spray paint on the dining room table, construction paper sprawled on the living room couch, and old school projects collecting dust in the corner of the southwest wing. I would just stand there confused and perturbed, not knowing where to begin or where things should go. And then without fail, every time, my mother would tell us that every item had a home. You just have to find its home, and if you think there really is no home for it, then clear some cabinet shelves or move some other objects around, and create a space for it.
It’s not easy, finding or building your home. After all, what’s that saying where, “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” It’s a process, and mostly it’s uncomfortable. And with that, some people might feel offended while others might be strongly opposed. But that seems to be how God like to mold, break, and grow His kids. I’m right with whoever is constructing home or has been wearily pursuing to find home for some time. If it’s not your family or your roommates or the people in your workplace, then it’s somewhere else. Because there are people out there who want to know you. It might not be the people you wished and prayed it would be. But there are people who will give you the freedom to be known. They’ll sit and they’ll listen. You’ll cheers to cold brew and lots of tacos and slices of pie. And then you’ll get in the car and all of a sudden the tears will just flow. It’s there. They’re there. Somewhere.
Find its home, or create a space for it. Find your home, or create a place for your soul to be known.