Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of light and love!
"I think we all have blocks between us and the best version of ourselves, whether it's shyness, insecurity, anxiety, whether it's a physical block, and the story of a person overcoming that block to their best self. It's truly inspiring because I think all of us are engaged in that every day." -Tom Hooper
"Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person." - Seth Godin
Do we know what the best version of ourselves is? Do we have a clue as to what it might be? Do we care about it at all? Do we trust God/Goddess/All That Is, enough to allow that version to come forth? Some of us know, some of us don't care and some of us, probably most, are afraid to find out. We fear failure, we fear success, we fear not living up to our own expectations, let alone anyone else's. And so, we hide behind a myriad of things to avoid seeing ourselves in the way that Spirit sees us.
In my own life whenever I have been afraid to step out, Spirit has stepped in and events happened that caused me to act. Almost eleven years ago I left my second husband. I wanted to leave for years but wanted the children to have both parents while still in school. At least, that's what I told myself and it was partly true. The reality is that I was afraid because I relied on him for finances. I was a housewife and stay at home mom. When my youngest son left home for college, I'd planned to leave but decided I would see how life would be for us without the children at home. It didn't change how I felt inside, however. I still wanted to leave.
In a conversation with one of my best friends, (I'm lucky to have more than one) she spoke about her concern for her 96 year old mother living alone. When we ended the conversation as I hung up the phone, I heard Spirit say, "Ask her about renting the upstairs in her mother's house." I didn't want to do it, because we were friends and I didn't want any mixed feelings. By this time, (2003) I was self employed with a sewing business and shortly afterwards I worked with AmeriCorps. Being obedient to Spirit, I asked my friend and her sister. After checking with their mother, I was given a yes. She charged me $150 a month. We were company for each other. She nurtured me during that difficult transition.
While living there, I ended the sewing business as a primary source of income. I continued with AmeriCorps and through a contact with them I received another job. I also started a part time job with Dillard's. Shortly after starting with Dillard's, my car was stolen. Luckily, Dillard's was on a bus line. I had to take two buses to get home and there was a 30 minute wait between buses. It would be close to 11pm when I walked in the door. The walk to the house from the bus stop wasn't that far but far enough in the dark. Eventually the car was found but it was damaged. In August of that year (2004), I told Spirit that I wanted to move. I was very specific about the area I wanted, the rent I wanted to pay and the type of place I wanted.
In that same month while on the bus I saw a woman with a hairstyle that I liked. She gave me the name of the stylist and I made an appointment. During one of the appointments I mentioned that I wanted to live downtown. She said that she would keep her eyes and ears open. In October, the stylist told me that she had seen a for rent sign in a house on her block. I went by, took down the number and called. It had the particulars of what I wanted in an apartment and the rent was affordable. It was a 2 bedroom with a washer and dryer and eat in kitchen. The closets were small and it had a shower instead of a tub but it seemed perfect for me. I had no furniture except for a chair I reupholstered and a dresser.
My supervisor with AmeriCorps was moving to Maryland and sold me a love seat and an entertainment center. My friend Suzanne gave me a bed and an outdoor table and chair set. My friend Celeste gave me a futon for the second bedroom. I made an ottoman for a coffee table and I made the window treatments. Slowly but surely I began to buy accessories and the house became a home. This was the first time that I lived alone without a child or husband. I was scared but also excited! I felt in charge of my life for the first time in a long time. I stayed there two years.
In August (what is it with me and August) of the second year (2006), I made another request of Spirit for a place. This time I wanted a walk in closet, a tub, and more space but I didn't know where I wanted to live. I didn't know it at the time but Spirit was "increasing my territory" as the song says. I was expanding my consciousness and my faith. I gave a two month notice although I had no idea where I was headed. My lease was up at the end of October and I had not found a place when October made an entrance. In the first week of October, the daughter of a friend of mine told me that she had seen a for rent sign around the corner from her house in Church Hill. I went there, but the only for rent sign was on a house. I took down the number and made an appointment to see the house. I liked it but it was too large and cost more than I wanted to spend.
It was now two weeks before my lease was up and I still had no idea where I was going. The only thing that I had was faith. I forgot to mention that a month before my lease was up, I had been hired for another job paying more than the last full time job. I didn't need Dillard's any more. While living downtown my daughter gave me her car because she was moving to LA. Anyway while having breakfast before going to work one morning, I heard Spirit say to go back and get the number for the house in Church Hill. As I drove by I saw a for rent sign on an apartment house. I took down the number and called when I got to work. I asked to see it and fell in love. It had everything that I wanted. I moved in at the end of October. The transmission blew on my daughter's car and I had to buy a car. So a new dwelling and a new car was now in my life.
I had been there a year and a half on a month to month lease when I made another request. This time I wanted a house; a 3 bedroom, dining room, eat in kitchen and family room house. I didn't want to buy but wanted that option. I didn't know that I wanted a house, it dropped in my spirit. A lawyer that I met at the church I attended at the time came to see me to discuss my divorce. I mentioned that I wanted a house. She asked me if I wanted to buy or rent and did I have a preference as to where it would be. I mentioned that I didn't want south Richmond and I wanted to rent. She said she was asking because she had a house that she would be willing to rent with option but it was in Chesterfield. I told her that I would see it. It had what I wanted and she also let me keep the furniture still there. She even let me pay the same rent that I had been paying. Spirit at work!
Not long after moving in, I lost my job and car. I couldn't continue to stay there and so I moved in with my oldest son and his girlfriend. I moved there in February, 2009 and in May, my youngest son gave me his car to use. In August (again), I sensed that it was time for me to go and I said to Spirit that I needed a place to stay with little or no rent because I didn't have an income. I don't know why I didn't ask for a job. In September of that year, my friend Melvina, asked me to apply for a resident manager position with her part time job, Daughters of Zelophehad. I did and received the job. In addition to living rent free, I received a stipend. I had lost weight due to the Extreme Boot Camp program I attended in LA in 2008, because my oldest daughter felt it would benefit me. It did. I continued the program when I returned to VA and even incorporated jogging into my regime. I felt great.
In August of 2010, I received an email from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies in New York. I looked into them when I was ordained in 2007 by the minister of the church I attended at the time. I decided that I would attend the open house. I applied for the two year program and was accepted. In June of 2011, the resident manager position ended because the company took a new direction. The seminary was undergoing changes as well. I decided to apply for One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and was accepted and graduated in June, 2012. With both seminaries I was able to fulfill some financial obligations with the help of people attending the seminary that God placed in my life. I am forever grateful to them and to my long time friend Cher for her help on two occasions with other things. "I get by with a little help from my friends."- The Beatles
In January of 2012, my best friend, whose mother I stayed with, made her transition. I also started a new job as a residential youth counselor. I unjustly lost that job in August, 2012. In October I was in NY for a work study to fulfill my portion of a financial obligation with OSIS. When I returned I was very anxious. I felt that a life changing event was about to happen. Of course breast cancer was discovered two months later. In April, 2013 I lost the apartment and in November, 2013, I lost my possessions in storage. On the surface, it appears that I am back to square 1 when I left my husband. Everything that I accumulated when I declared my independence is gone. I don't have a place of my own and I no longer have a car. It's after losing my things that this journey started.
In 2008, when I lived in the lawyer's house in Chesterfield county, almost every show on television had to do with homelessness. I remember asking Spirit if I would be homeless at some point or if I were to work with the homeless? Well it seems as if both have happened. I'm not totally homeless, there is a roof over my head. I just don't have a place of my own and I keep my things in boxes and suitcases. But I'm not in the elements and I am grateful. In a sense I am back to square 1 and it's not a bad place to be. I can begin again. I'm also free of all of my "stuff" and I had a lot of it! For me, now, less is more. I'm once again at a crossroads and not sure where I'm headed. I only know that God/Goddess/All That Is is in control.
My friend Melvina asked me to apply for a position as a Mental Health Technician with Rubicon, a drug facility. I did and as of last week they have been checking my references. I need an income other than SS and I don't mind working. Yet there is this reluctance to accept this position, if offered. This has been my field of expertise for the last five years but I'm not sure if I'm up to that energy any more. I am also wondering whether this is where Spirit wants me. Having lost jobs either through termination or the jobs folding, I wonder if Spirit is telling me to "come up higher". Is it time for me to do what 'thus saith the Lord" and fulfill my destiny? Jeremiah 29:11says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." NIV
I close with this: "Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting." - Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns
Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Gypsi Mama Michelle