Where is home?

It was the most painful time of my life, but I was determined that it wouldn’t drive me down.

“Home away from home” is what I convinced myself I would experience when I walked into the Salvation Army shelter. I had brought two of my grandchildren with me to help my daughter get her act together. 

For some reason, I thought that I would be able to find a job right away with all my work experience, and then quickly find housing. I had worked in a grocery store for nearly five years, the public school system for one and a half years, and in retail for four or more. But it was not as easy as I had anticipated.

After two months there, I was informed by the Salvation Army that either I get rid of my grand babies or they would put us all out of the program. My daughter came and got the kids and left with them. They left on the youngest one’s birthday.

It was the most painful time of my life, but I was determined that it wouldn’t drive me down. The thing I was worried about most was going down—losing hope and losing perspective. I hadn’t realized how much those babies meant to me until they were gone. I felt so empty. It was time for a change without losing my basic dignity. As I looked round me, I saw many that had lost their minds. In that environment, it is so easy to lose it. So many had given up. They were running scared. You could smell the fear. Hope was rare.

Every time I saw one go down, I reminded myself that could be me. Then I thanked God it wasn’t me. Then I asked, “God, will this be me? What must I do to prevent this from happening?” It seemed I held my breath for the longest time. I was on the border of insanity. Many were already there. I was afraid I would be next. I fought hard not to cry or, worse, become severely depressed. I was already depressed. I still cried from time to time, just not as often.

I busied myself so much that I tried not to have time to think about my situation. I started reading my Bible every morning and evening and haven’t stopped since.

I needed my birth certificate and was told to go to a homeless resource center. While there, I learned about the writing class and art studio. I did my best to attend every one. I painted several paintings. Sold a few. I had written one book and self-published it. (I have to republish it because I made the mistake of printing it in an Old English font.) Since then, I have written four others and am working on the sixth.

It was my vision to live on the lake, so I placed a map on the underside of the bunkbed above me in the shelter and prayed about it daily.

After couple months, I had made good progress. I was on my own. I had a car, an apartment, and a part-time job at a grocery store. 

For two years, I struggled to pay rent from my job. I did everything possible to stay afloat. Finally I gave up.

I moved back to Stone Mountain to my daughter’s house. After being unsuccessful at finding a job, losing my storage unit and belongings, and spending all my savings trying to survive, I went back to school at Westwood College in the Business Management program.

Semesters passed. Eventually I finished my classes. I am proud to say that I now have an Associates Degree in business. 

Currently I am working at as a product demonstrator at a grocery store. I performed recently in a play called “Be Very Careful of What You Pray For.” I am developing a character called “Miz Kryz” for my storytelling. I’m still working on my books and want to start blogging.

In a sense, I am still homeless. I do have my goals and greater determination. My heart goes out to those who are still searching. My heart goes out to those who have given up hope.

They say home is where the heart is. Then we all should pray for a stronger heart.