Monday, June 20, 2022


“Where the Spirit of God is, our souls are set free.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the glory of God,
are being transformed into the Divine image with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from God, who is Spirit.”

~ 2nd Corinthians 3 :17, 18

My “off-duty” time, through the recent three months, has been more hectic than during my job hours. Following a solid six weeks of purging and packing, yet another weekend of apartment-searching has now passed. The impending loss of my decades of housing, due to the landlords’ liquidating the building, is an alienating- even a disenfranchising- ordeal. Indeed, it never leaves my thoughts that numerous others are embroiled in similar struggles. My daily journal entries are filled with descriptions of things I’ve seen and heard, including my astonishment at persistent slum conditions in too many overpriced southern Maine apartments. While trying to vigilantly persevere with arranging for viewings, along with preparedness for an unknown move to an unknown place, it is impossible not to hear the unnerving stomping and thudding caused by people dislodging their things out of the building. At least I’ve got my household downsized, crated up, and ready. But there isn’t a place to go, yet. That latter adverb represents evidence of lingering optimism. Adding to that, I hope and pray the next place has a window next to which I can place my writing desk. Natural light and fresh air are two things I cannot experience at the job. Maybe a perch that is even better than the old one. Dreaming is assumingly permissible, atop the daring pursuit of stability.

Recently, I’ve heard myself say that I miss taking things for granted. For years and years, I’d walk home from work (yes, I’m a Mainer who walks to work), kick off my shoes, sit down and say, “It’s good to be home.” The walking commute is likely to disappear in this gentrified area, and my definition of home has been jarred out of joint. My sense of home has become a sense of the past without a clear future. This uncertainty of physical place has sent me fleeing further to the solidity of the interior life, a foundation long-established.

Contemplation encompasses more than writing, study, and reflection; there is imagination, visual art, and listening. I’ve left two radios unpacked, one for the kitchen counter, and the other for my desk. Hearing classical music, along with various spoken broadcasts, provide for some healthy distraction, as well as connecting me with that elusive sense of home. A shred of familiarity among all the packed boxes is my pared-down writing perch. I’m keeping this somewhat intact, until the as-yet-unknown thirty day countdown. My desk is empty, and a translucent Sterilite box labeled Desk Drawer is among the nearby crated personal effects. The din of my days is one of homesickness, but the sentiment is overshadowed by an impatience to move to a stable and safer place. If anything, something in a much better state of repair, without the funereal ambience.

In this bizarre race against time and economics, my instincts try to find ways to be reminded of the ground of my being. At best, this is to find solidity for the present while thirsting for a good future. The housing market is an unfortunate ocean of piranhas, and I’m getting a close view of an underworld of which I hadn’t been fully aware of before. But the present is relegated to little more than a launching pad replete with shards, shreds, and shavings. And this sort of status-quo is easy to leave, especially as I step through dilapidated halls to reach the habitat of my boxes. Witnessing neglect and decay is its own brand of exhaustion. Surely there must be many others (at least I’d like to think so) who long to see something good, some signs of general improvement in these times. Having met with dozens of people during this ongoing search, I hope to be part of some kind of neighborly effort that connects those who struggle as I am now. Not one of the community or municipal agencies I’ve approached for advice or advocacy have helped. I don’t wish this sort of scenario upon any person. Circled wagons and closed doors serve only to stratify things even more. If I’m able to transcend these ashes, perhaps this experience may become a helpful component for others, later on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your writing touched my heart. I wish you blessings as you transition. The neighborhood will lose a bit of soul light when you leave.