You’re used to the exact and very much so reliable place of your toothbrush. Where your hands automatically reach towards when you are squinting in front of the mirror, after your hand knew exactly where the light switch was. You’re used to the familiar and the comforting smell of your laundry detergent when you slide your favorite cozy shirt over your head… To breath in that stimulating smell and know without a doubt you are inhaling peace in every pore of your nose. You’re used to when, being at a friends house, that you don’t necessarily help yourself to using their washer and dryer. I mean they say you can, and you totally would, but you have a home you’re going back home to. So, you’ll do it later at your home. You know when you leave something somewhere, it is in no doubt, there later.
I am not by any means putting myself out like a martyr. But these are some of the differences that have come along with our decision. Things that I have to adapt to, things that I have to elope with the idea of recognizing them. Have to accept the understanding that it is normal. Normal to carry a caddy bag of your shower gear in and out of your shower. Normal to have to adapt myself fully to not be nervous making conversations with people. To expose myself in a conversation, that these people aren’t just strangers that you wave and hi and bye to. They are offering their homes and having me sit down at their home cooked hot meal at their creaking wooden dinning room table. I don’t just nod and say thanks. I make conversation. I ask questions, I don’t get nervous. I surrender my barriers of nervousness and greet the honesty without fear concept. Who knew that strangers are not in that context of what a “stranger” is usually sought out to be. That a stranger do eventually develop into a friendship sometimes. That my relationship with Jessica was to, with a stranger. People are people. People are warm, curious and giving. I am blessed to have all of these experiences.
I do not have a place with four walls, a roof and a floor to call home. What I do have is myself whom is healthy and strong and getting stronger by the day. What I do have is a reliable and beautiful woman that is standing beside me, whom I get to share every detail with. What I do have is strangers that have opened up their doors for us without fear, friends that have given to us without doubt and a backpack that is as sturdy as a door frame, giving me fortitude and cover wherever I find myself next.
My backpack, sufficient and gracious. This backpack will see the world with me. This backpack, color of brilliant orange lifeboats, is my closet, my door, my four walls and my ceiling. Sturdy and plastic zippers reveal compartments of: My laundry room. Sock and underwear draw. Glass jar of change. Bathroom counter ease of use items. An electronic drawer of your much used wires and items. This backpack is my sack, my duffel bag, my rucksack, whatever the hell you want to call it. Orange blended into black fabric stitched together, zippers and buckles intertwined and an inside compartment to store my life. My tangible life.
What an amazing experience this has been so far. I am two weeks, 2 days in it. And it is indeed Christmas Eve. I am sitting on a twin size bed in a young boys room. There’s a play rug where my feet cross on my way in and out of the room, that has roads, trees and even a firehouse. My bedspread has Mario on it with banana peels, checker stripes and other characters such as Luigi embodied on it. There’s a bright blue poster of Rio, the movie, on the wall that is very predominant in this room. There’s a shelf with every kid flick you could want to watch when you’re under ten years old. My beautiful fiancée is sitting on the police station part of the rug writing in her journal, and I can only smile. We are staying at a friends house, a battle buddies house and a family members house. Kari is a friend from the military, whom I completed basic training for the United States Army with. The most difficult, trying, emotionally and physically depleting event I have ever gone through. Going through something like that with someone, create a very special and unique bond. How sincere it is of her to offer her home. I’m honored to of met her and I am honored to reconnect at her home during the holidays. spending time with her and her children. I am blessed.
There are tidbits of information I am picking up along the road. Things I have learned about culture, music, politics, different ethnic backgrounds, about how other families operate and share love. It has been a grand learning experience, and I haven’t even left the states yet. What a beautiful gift I have been given.
The greatest gift is something given or learned at the heart, the core of it all.