The Lovely Feeling of Displaced

DSCN4097.JPGOur landlord said he was getting a divorce. He said part of the ensuing negotiations meant he needed to seek his properties. Including outs.

We were given 90 days, or till the end of July.

He was pretty tore up.

This began two weeks ago.

The whole think took about a day to sink in. Since that initial shock, the situation has alternately exploded, accelerated an occasionally balanced into a comfortable new anti-rhythm that changes twice a day.

My intellectual self has stepped in and recognized – oh! This is that thing that happens when the powers at large make decisions and everyone else has to re-arrange their lives to accommodate.

*expletive!*

I would not dare to compare my experience to that of Syrian refugees, however if this experience causes me to have greater compassion and empathy for them, so much the better.

I suppose my experience is a bit more like that of the gentrified tenant, forced to move because their landlord decided to charge unreasonable high rent. Although, because our move is owing to an individual person’s relationship drama, I’m not sure if that makes the situation better or worse.

For me, the situation doesn’t carry quite the sting of bringing up childhood trauma, but I am exceedingly irritated, which is connected to feeling vulnerable which is something like feeling threatened, or at least robbed. I had plans for this summer! I wanted to take it easy, work a light schedule, finish my novel and start another, thee take a really specialized(and expensive) counseling training in the far. My out-of-state parents were going to visit in July and we were going to have a lovely time.

Now I face the prospect of purging and packing up my house – a long project – and potentially needing to increase my income, which would mean working more and not less.

I was half an epilogue from a finished novel. Now I’m contemplating whether or not to maintain a six-day work week through the summer.

Stability and thriving were just within my grasp.

I thought life was one thing, until it became another. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Unexpected things have turned out to be the theme of the Christ Year. And what have I learned about Christ in the process?

He will not be boxed. I cannot contain Him in any plan or paradigm or directly exert any control over Him. Much as I may chafe against the idea, He is quite a bit more powerful than me and will have His way. I can either fight a hopelessly losing battle and be always frustrated, or I can learn to ride the rhythm of the Spirit as He moves.

Or, variation, God is still present in the upheaval. This concept offers more comfort, but is also harder to see. I think I know this intellectually, or I remember I have heard others say this has been their experience and discovery, however it has not yet been mine. At least not as fully as I hope for. God is somewhere. I just wish I knew this with more than just my mind.

Still, I am inclined to emphasize this point, of God’s enduring presence through the chaos. Why else would I be able to face the situation with anything mildly resembling a clear head? This is stressful, and historically I have handled stress badly.

What if Christ is present, and what if He is transforming me through the stress?

In considering foundations, this whole process is exposing my instinctive values. I want the foundation of the stable living situation(aka, the nice, really nice house). I think the right structure with all the right amenities will make me happy. Or if not the cute and artistic structure, at least the neighborhood. Somewhere inner-SE? North Portland? Montavilla? Woodstock?

If we must move to the eastern suburbs(the closest Portland gets to a ghetto, and really not really) can we at least be close to public transit?

At least don’t make us move to…Vancouver, WA!!DSCN3923.JPG

Either I love my rental in my neighborhood, or I’m afraid of change. With change comes discomfort which also makes me afraid. Change also brings loss and I’m afraid of that because then I would be sad…and I would be having loss!

Loss of coffee shops in easy walking distance. Loss of pretty streets and houses for miles in every direction. Loss of good friends in easy driving distance. Loss of familiarity with the streets. If we move to Washington, loss of identity as an Oregonian.

But none of these are foundation. These things are nice and comfortable, but none of them are ultimate or enduring. Doggedly pursuing them does not actually bring any lasting benefit to myself, my family or the world.

The kingdom of God is not houses, nor neighborhoods, nor living in Portland instead of Vancouver. Rather, the kingdom is yeast – being spread about, mixed up, and steadily growing wherever it is. Or a mustard seed growing from tiny to massive wherever it is planted.

I remember this in the calm moments. I aspire to remember it when I am emotionally heightened as well.

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