I never knew how out of balance one feels when they don’t have a place to call home. But, I am acutely aware now.
After losing my home to foreclosure in 2010, I rented a home nearby. My goal was to buy another as soon as possible. As many of you know, things get in the way that prevents us from reaching our goals. In this instance, it was the three years following my divorce that I paid debt incurred from the marriage, spousal and child support, and legal fees. At the same time, there were work furloughs that created a significant loss of income.
In the fourth year, my financial situation began to turn around. I was feeling hopeful that I’d be able to afford a home.
As I was telling a friend this, she suggested I move in with her and save money for a down payment. Her logic was sound. With my, 6 figure income saving would be fast. My mind said “Yes” but my intuition said “HELL NO!”
Like I so often did, I disregarded my inner voice, and gave up the rental. But, instead of moving in with her, I moved in with the man I was in a 5-year rocky relationship with. The night before the move I told my friend “This doesn’t feel right. I’m homeless.” She replied, “You’re choosing not to have a home. That’s not the same as being homeless.” But, it was fortuitous.
When I returned to Michigan in May 2019, the job I was offered fell through. This meant I was homeless. I didn’t have the income or a down payment for an apartment. This was a huge blow. While I figured out a new income plan, I continued driving for the ride share company even though I wasn’t making enough to pay my bills let alone afford a home.
If not for the generosity of friends, I would have been living in a cardboard box underneath the local expressway bridge.
As I reconnected with friends and told them my situation, they asked “Aren’t you homesick?” I found that funny yet sad. “You have to have a home to be homesick”, I’d say. The friends that took me in did their best to make me feel at home. But, their home wasn’t my home.
All attempts to right the sinking financial ship failed. I couldn’t get things moving in the right direction regardless of effort. For the next 10 months, I had highs and lows. The highs came when I thought that opportunities were going to produce fruit. The lows came when I realized that those opportunities were not fruit bearers. I lost count of the the number of times that happened. It was an emotional roller coaster that had me in tears and wanting to kick something.
Then, Covid-19 happened. This was the final straw. My only source of income was gone. WTF! I will not lie, I was terrified!
I had no choice but to put my trust in God and surrender. The moment I did, my life changed.
The next day, I awoke to a message “Pack your shit! You’re moving to Florida, today!” I sat up in bed and wiped the sleep from my eyes. Say what? The message came again but was emphatic “PACK YOUR SHIT!!!! YOU’RE MOVING TO FLORIDA, T-O-D-A-Y!! By 5 pm, March 23, 2020, the day the quarantine was going into effect with $20.19 in my checking account, I was on I-75 going to Florida.
“Hello, dear friend. How are you?” I asked. He said he wasn’t feeling well and asked how I was doing. I replied “I’m in my car with minimal things packed heading in your direction. Can I stay with you for a couple of weeks until I find an apartment? He hesitated then asked “What did you say? You’re on your way to Fort Myers?” “Yes. I’ll explain when I get there”, I said. He told me I was welcome to stay.
Several weeks prior, knowing Florida was where I was meant to be, I flew to Fort Myers and stayed with my friend for a long weekend. This was an opportunity to check surrounding areas to determine where I wanted to live. I returned to Michigan without making any decisions. Without having money for a down payment a decision seemed futile. All I could do was continue to surrender and trust it would work out.
It was a bit shy of 2 weeks since arriving in Florida when I walked into my friend’s house to hear the radio announcer say the quarantine was going into effect at midnight the following day. My first reaction was “Why in the f&%$ am I being kept from living on my own?” I was pissed. I slapped my hand onto the counter top and shook my head. Instantly, a message came “You know he isn’t feeling well. He needs your help and attention. Relax and enjoy the time!” I felt like a huge asshole. Another part of my brain registered that I was no longer homeless. I could afford a place of my own. I was going to make the best of this unprecedented time.
I walked onto the patio to find him relaxing under the sun on a raft in the pool. “Bud, I have an announcement. The news reported the quarantine goes into effect tomorrow at midnight.” He opened one eye and said “Really? Where did you hear that?” I told him then continued “I hope you like me because we are going to spend some quality time together.” He laughed then said, “You’re in luck. I do! There are worse people you could spend this time with, right?” I smiled then replied “You’ve got that right. Let the good times roll.”
We can all agree that Covid-19 dealt the world a lot of lemons. What do we do when we are given lemons? We make lemonade or Limoncello!
I am pleased to report that it’s July of 2020 and I’m writing this post from the kitchen of my beautiful apartment while enjoying the sweet taste of Limoncello!
It was a long long-ass journey that required a lot of patience and determination. Recognizing if not for God, my girls, and beloved friends this day wouldn’t have been possible. Cheers! #soblessedandthankful
All Aboard! The Transformation train is leaving the station. Next stop, “Hello Darlin’!”