When home doesn’t feel like home.

I’m moving out of my house next week. It’s been one of many moves over the years and despite the regularity with which I do in fact move places…I still don’t like it. I get sweaty and irritable because my life suddenly involves a mountain of details that need to be put in detailed places at a detailed time in a detailed way. I suppose you might say I’m often more of a big picture sort of person. Sometimes to a fault, but hey…that’s life.

What I noticed the other day is that our table was gone. It had been moved. It wasn’t mine and I certainly did not expect (or want) to keep it, but the moment it was gone my house felt like not a home. I came home to empty space in a room that was slowly losing all definition.

When the table was gone  I thought to myself “Well, I guess we’re leaving and I don’t want to stay here past then”. When the TV left I was secretly glad. When my computer left I didn’t miss it terribly (kudos to the Seattle Public Library for this blogging moment.) Yet, when the table left I wanted to just have the whole process be done and go with it. I didn’t really want to live in a house without a table.

For me the table might be one of the most important things in a house. It means a place to eat comfortably, but moreso it means a place to gather. It means a place where people come together and sit and talk and share life. We see Jesus at a table a lot (both in the gospels and in real life). When we welcome someone to our home and pray before the meal we welcome the Lord into the space we are sharing. It’s very seldom that other spaces in life have the same reverence/holiness blended with a sense of laughter, fun, and often seriousness that a table brings.

So, when the table left home didn’t feel like home anymore. I ate my foods on a counter/dresser of sorts and felt out of place. It’s like camping, but without the fire or anyone else around…though…6:30am isn’t a popular hour to have people around anyway.

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There are those times…

Sometimes at my job we take the kids I work with to the public library. In between the standing up and walking around to spoil fun (i.e. turn off porn) I take the time to sit about and read people’s blogs, check my facebook, and occasionally I blog myself.

I reckon that work is pretty chill today. If it weren’t I wouldn’t be terribly likely to be blogging, let alone thinking mildly pleasant thoughts about life. Given that, I would like to point out that I have reached the 35 day point of my AmeriCorps experience. That means there are 35 days of job left. The end draws nearer. I have some mixed feelings about this. Perhaps not as many mixed feelings (pause as I tell a kid to stop watching a sketchy music video) as I would have thought but here are my thoughts.

Last night I went out to a nice happy hour at the Ram with some lovely people.  A friend asked going to Seminary asked me what my favorite part of my job was. I answered with this: I can’t not rely on Jesus. That’s the truth. My job is a CHALLENGE. The kids I work with are an emotional rollercoaster of sometimes wanting/needing accountability in life and sometimes hating me/anyone else for giving them that. They also need to learn things about life/math/english but maintain a solid level of “Shut the hell up and leave me alone.” One kid especially who hasn’t spoken to me for 2 months…although his way of doing it is definitively non-verbal.

Basically I fight the I-think-this-is-where-God-is-calling-me…even-though-it-sucks-a-lot-sometimes battle frequently. While this is a worthy calling in life and work I would PREFER it if the Lord would allow me to do something I loved to do and to get money for that. Not that I desire money above all things, but the AmeriCorps “wage” starts to wear on my especially when it corresponds to the amount of garbage I take on a weekly basis.

Still, there are these strange moments where I am somehow able to sit a kid down and talk to him for about 45 minutes and have a serious conversation about life and an assortment of things and he miraculously listens to practically every word I say. There are strange moments when I go to work and watch a world cup game with kids, play settlers of Catan with kids, or watch a movie I enjoy in Spanish with kids. After these things I am often unsure of how I feel about being done with my job…The few days where I go home not exhausted, angry, or frustrated somehow make a vast amount of the aformentioned emotional states validated…Not that I want them to keep going, or that I desire to keep getting my ass kicked emotionally at work while I force myself/Jesus gives me strength to do things that I don’t love doing…but somehow there are those times that leave even the most challenging of experiences in my life bitter-sweet as I begin to transition out of them…

So, I guess you might say that the job has been good. I don’t know that I ever want to do this sort of teaching/day care/mentorship/older brother/father figure/all in Spanish combo in this context ever again…but I submit now (even though I might deny or regret saying it later) that it was worth it. Emotional suffering, pain, frustration, anger, exhaustion and everything that goes along with it seems to mirror what the apostle Paul says in Romans 5:

“we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Those are my thoughts.