The shattered glass around the building’s open entryway invited me into a hallway of white doors with black numbers. As I climbed the stairs to find number 10, I noticed the worn down, stained carpet beneath my steps that indicated many had walked this path before me. I reached the third floor to finally find just the door I was after. Opening the door, I was overwhelmed by a few scattered furnishings. The omnipresent, blank, white walls were speckled with visible attempts at covering the holes from all those who had previously lived in “10.” I continued back to my new bedroom to find a mattress, used to provide a night’s rest for homeless individuals during the winter, lying on the floor. Thrown together bedding and towels were waiting to be used. I felt empty. For a split second I considered running out of my new front door, straight to the airport, to catch a plane back to my comfortable place. Yet, some part of me overthrew that thought and I began to unpack as I could, trying to at least make it feel lived in.
I now sit almost a week later, comfortably, on my mattress on the ground. The few pieces of clothing that came with me line the closet. Pages of the “Elle” magazine I brought across the country now line my bathroom drawers. My current life saver, a bottle of Raid, sits atop my dresser just waiting to take down the next animal-sized insect that appears. For those who know me well, this sounds like the picture perfect Olivia breakdown just brewing. The first days after moving in were by far the toughest. Now, however, I don’t find myself missing my prior overindulged, material world. Sure, there are moments when I wish I had specific items, but I find myself more present than I have ever been to my life. I am focused. I am happy. I am thriving. I never expected to draw a sense of contentment from something that initially presented as internal warfare. I find myself desiring to have a conversation with others, rather than defaulting to Facebook perusing. I have yet to feel bored, something previously common. Rather than drifting off with my MacBook still open after a pointless hour on the internet, I find myself replaying the refugee and immigrant children’s smiles as if on a never-ending slideshow. I fall asleep hearing their laughter. I am beyond honored to be living and fully believing in Mother Teresa’s quote, “Live simply so others may simply live.” May you always remember what, or hopefully who, you truly cannot live without and place the highest priority on this or them in your life. I am finally home. Eph 1:11.