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Photo credit: jurvetson
A few weeks ago I had a totally new experience.
Friends asked me, last-minute, if I liked to take care of their house while they were away. Since you already know I love the beach and it is about ten minutes biking distance from their home, how could I say no?
So, I took my bunnies under one arm and my suitcase under the other to enjoy their house and the beach.
It took a while for the bunnies to settle. But strange enough, it took me a while too!
Not that anything was amiss with the house, the rain was another story though. Not much beach time…
Some things didn’t really work out well, which made me real angry. That is, until I received insight in this matter during a session with my counselor (did I tell you he is good? Now I did!).
Now, since 1994 I have lived in a gazillion different places spread over four countries. Honestly, it is impossible to count since I became really nomadic towards the end. It must be close to 50. I know, just thinking about it makes me feel crazy!
I have lived in my apartment exactly a year and two days. The sixth place to live in since I arrived back in the Netherlands on July 1st, 2009. At least. So it’s no surprise that it has taken me a while to get settled.
Apparently, I have some sort of routine at home – something that makes me feel safe to some extent. Or at least settled. It’s not much of a routine, you might not even recognize it, but it is there!
In actual fact, the couple of weeks before I left, I was really doing well and starting to enjoy myself. Another new experience. To suddenly drop to the bottom was nasty.
Of course I know that change for bipolars is hard. But this time I didn’t just know it, I totally experienced it. Since my emotions are coming to life, life has become totally different. In the good sense, enjoyment, and the less good, anger, trapped, abandoned. Note: I don’t say bad. Cuz even what you could consider ‘bad’ emotions are good, because they serve a purpose. But that’s stuff for another post ;).
How did I survive all those changes for all those years? By being in utter and complete survival mode. I didn’t know anything else anyway.
Now I know. Feel. Experience. Emote.
When sitting on your legs too long, they fall asleep. When you try to stand, your legs are pretty useless, they can’t hold you up. When they are released from ‘entrapment’ and come to life once again, it stings ferociously. Quite painful really. But it is a good sensation, because it enables you to use your legs again and walk.
Well, I am still in the ‘quite painful’ state and I am only learning to walk. I might not have much sense yet of what ‘home’ and ‘safe’ really means, but I have an inkling and I long for more.
And I know:
One day I will run!
One day I will fly!
One day I will be totally at home and take it with me where ever I go…
Ps Sorry, no picture of my home since I am in the middle of replanting houseplants and painting part of the corridor and kitchen. It’s a real mess now everywhere, but it will be great!
Recently I came across a little note I had written several months ago. I still remember writing it. To understand the situation I have to backtrack.
After living with friends for several months upon my return to the Netherlands last Summer the opportunity arose to live temporarily in a one room apartment. I grabbed it with both hands, thankful for the Lord’s provision. We have a saying here in Holland: fish and guests stink after three days :). I certainly did not want to overstay my welcome! So I moved and what was so amazing is that, even though I had arrived from the States with only some clothes, the Lord provided me with all that I needed! Furniture came my way, kitchen stuff, a bed, you name it. The only thing I bought was an electric stove.
So when it was time to move again, I was full of faith that the Lord would provide a new apartment. However, as the time of my lease draw to a close, nothing turned up. Still I believed. At some point though, I had to look for alternatives since nothing became available. Up till the evening before my move I didn’t know where I was gonna live. Bad memories of my previous nomadic life came to the surface…
For most of the four and a half years prior to that, I didn’t have my own place to live. During that time I lived like a nomad, moving from place to place, often not knowing how long I could stay at any one place and certainly not knowing where I would be staying next. Very unsettling. Very difficult. Very very challenging. It was so hard to maintain my sanity. And I don’t say that lightly as it was very true.
It was hard work to survive the continuous changes forged on me. Especially as one change included a sudden return to my home country, which after 15 years of absence didn’t feel like home anymore. On top of that, you need to understand that change for bipolars is much more difficult to handle as it works as a trigger for serious mood swings. Also, I was still recovering from severe burn out. All together nothing to sneeze at.
Blessedly, one family of my church took me into their home. This was outside the city and consequently away from my social world as well as my voluntary work. So there I sat in my bedroom, dreaming of my own place. That is when I scribbled the above mentioned note with my wishes. I offered it up to God and forgot all about it.
Now fast forward. A couple of weeks back I was sitting in my own home, having moved there early August. Amazingly, the Lord provided again all that I needed, including bookcases, a better bed, washing machine, fridge, desks, lamps etc. Sitting at my desk I came across said note. AND GOD HAD FULFILLED ALL MY WISHES!!!
I have a very decent bathroom, the toilet is separate, it was in a good state, it has an individual heating system in all rooms, I have a separate bedroom, the sittingroom is huge with windows on both sides (light is very important to me, so this is a biggie!), it has a balcony the width of my apartment, a locked entrance, its on the second floor (only one flight of stairs to haul) and finally a basement for some boxes and my bike. It’s no small thing, peeps!!!
Not for a moment had I thought about my wish list when I accepted this apartment. It was the very first apartment that I viewed. It turned out that God had a reason to move me out of the city. Where I then lived someone had compassion on me. To cut a long story short: instead of having to wait 5 years in order to become eligible for social housing, God performed a miracle and I received priority. With the priority I was automatically somewhere at the top of the list when registering for certain apartments.
To this day I still don’t know why I had to live as a nomad for such a long time. I don’t know why God did not provide housing at an earlier stage. Truth be told, there is so much that I don’t understand about the last 5-6 years. But I don’t want that to keep me from remembering the miracles God did and honoring Him for it! Cuz the Lord is faithful y’all…