It’s 5:43AM. Sunday. Memorial Holiday weekend. Mug of creamy chai tea steaming at my side, I sag into the old leather love seat, ready to blog. At least I’m as ready to blog as I can be in these trying days. I’m an exile, an exile in my own home.
You see I’m in the garage. Yup, that’s where the love seat is. And virtually the entire first floor of our house. Our paisley chaise lounges. Lavender dining table. Matching blonde end tables. Two cozy (and construction dust coated) sunroom chairs. Oversized table lamps. My tea mug rests upon the lid of our green recycle bin. And all of this fills the west side of the garage, just the stuff we intend to let go before the house goes on market in two weeks. The east side is stacked with what we intend to keep---mostly packed boxes (books, sweaters, memories)---and soon U-haul to the Land, either for our little rented cabin or the shed.
I just snuck back into the house to make my second cup of chai. Trying not to wake Linda, I cringed as the house echoed its emptiness; a thousand tinny spoons clinked my mug as I stirred in the cream. The realtor and stager wanted the house cleaned and decluttered. ‘Lightened and brightened’. Oh its all of that. And as a sunless dawn peeks through the windows, the beauty of the freshly painted walls and refinished hardwood floors---not to mention the intoxicating smell of the organic wool carpet spilling down the stairway---make me feel even lonelier, more disconnected. The living / dining / sunroom say “don’t teach me. We are no longer yours.” Save for the details of monetary exchange, they already belong to the new owners.
I do hope they love these rooms as I did. As I still do, or at least the memories: Thanksgiving toasts, morning coffee and tea, Lord of the Rings (my Galway-gifted edition no longer rests upon the mantle). And all with my beloved Linda. And my friends. And you.
So its better out here in the garage. They’ve never been out here---the realtor and stager that is---never turned their possessive gaze this way. Its mine, mine, mine! Chairs, tables, lamps packed and stacked. Elm seeds swirling in through the open garage door. Cardinal probing the driveway’s concrete lip. The creativity of clutter! The joy of filth! The freedom of anonymity!
Right! If only it were that easy. If exile only applied to my house. Buts it my whole life that’s taken. For the first time in seven years I’ve stopped writing my novel. Not a single scene edited since May 2. I’ve abandoned Amelan, Elli, Skye, Emo and all my Corridor friends. My real friends too. I thought ‘refirement’ would bring breakfast with my buddies. Hah! And my community: Judson church (is it really Sunday already?), my neighbors (we’ve heard Millie is mad at us for leaving). I struggle to ‘maintain what matters’.
Some might say I chose exile. It’s all part of leaving this house and entering the next. Some might say the same of Emo. Amelan warned him. “Father, you violate Dego’s 2nd covenant: nothing in, nothing out. If you do not change your ways, do not stop running the Fence, even momming Ruth will turn her back on you. You will be exiled from Beaver Creek and the only life we know. Will you not stop? Please? If not for my sake, then for yours.”
“Would you have me give up my call?” Emo replies. “Look at your mother there on the wall. She’d still be with us if I’d run her medicine from over the Fence. Dego didn’t intended his covenants to kill Azurine. He built the Corridor and the Fence around it so that you and I could live our calling. I’m a healering. I bring medicine. I bring hope. I bring life.”
Perhaps I need some Emo passion. Perhaps I need to rekindle my call. The only point to all this---leave old job…leave old home…enter new home---is to engage new life. Like Emo, I’m running medicine from over the Fence, not in a white-capped vial but in words and images. I’ve received a gift: a hope for this world, bounded only by the possibilities of the divine. And I’m called to share this hope.
For now the shape of this hope is my story. Emo! You and Amelan and Elli and Skye. My teachers, I’ve ignored you far too long. Please forgive me. Can we still meet again at 5 each morning? In the garage if need be?
I’ll be exiled from my house but NOT from my life.