refugees

In Some Small Way We All Share Each Others’ Experiences — (Even Homelessness) – By Carmelene Melanie Siani

Soon after I woke up this morning I had a strange experience.

I had dreamed of a homeless man I had breakfast with in San Francisco years ago who told me something I’ve never forgotten.

“Being homeless ain’t about not having four walls, or not having stuff or an address,” he’d said. “It’s about not being from somewhere’s.”

He went on to explain, gesturing with his hand, that me and the other people around him sitting there in that diner, well, we all were from somewhere’s.

“Ya’ll carry that somewhere’s that you’re from inside of you. It’s part of who you are.”

He paused, making sure that I was understanding him and looked directly at me with his pale blue eyes.

“You?” he said, nodding his chin in my direction. “You’re not just you sitting there across the table from me. You’re a person with a place—a fire. It’s part of your identity and it protects you. Me? I don’t have that fire. So, being homeless is the same thing as being empty.”

Wow.

Not that I’m homeless. Hell. Not even close. But I am packing up my current home and moving from it to another State.  I’ve spent the last week or so sorting through all my personal belongings—books, clothing, pictures, etc. —that I have collected over the years.

The goal is to leave behind everything except that which fits into the back of a small hatch back car.

My husband and I haven’t found a place to move into yet so in a small way, I’m homeless right now and if I dug down deep enough I could actually identify the strange feelings I had when I woke up.

It’s if I was putting out my own fire and I was feeling empty inside.

Suddenly, in my mind’s eye I saw streams of refugees. They’d all left their homes—or worse yet, their homes had been blown out from under them in war torn situations.

I saw people, right here in my own country whose homes had been flooded, the water taking everything away with it.

I even saw my mother on that great ship of refugees that had landed on Ellis Island about a hundred years ago. She and entire generations like her had left their homes in Europe not really knowing where their new homes in America were going to be or whether in fact they would have one.

I saw a world full of dazed and confused people going far back into history.  Without their homes, they are lost as if they too had just awakened from a bad dream.

As I got up and started my day, I was even more convinced than ever that we humans really are all connected in our experiences.

While my current situation doesn’t even begin to compare in intensity or in need with that of so many others of my brothers’ and sisters’ experiences, in some small way it still helps me to understand all the more keenly what it’s like when the changes and tragedies of life steal our fires and leave us homeless.



Author Bio: Carmelene Melanie Siani

Carmelene Melanie SianiCarmelene writes stories from every day life and how life itself offers lessons to help us grow, expand, and put our feet on higher ground.

https://www.facebook.co/StoryBelly/



 

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33 comments

    1. I’m not sure whether I’m the unexpected person or the guy who shared his words with but, it doesn’t matter. I thank you for your comment — on behalf of both of us. 🙂 Reading your quote here makes those words seem almost new to me again.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I absolutely adore Carmelene, Every one of her posts makes you stop and rethink and always gives you a point of you that you may not have noticed before.

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  2. Reblogged this on Bursting! and commented:

    This touches me on so many levels… I, also, have experienced a peculiar “Home” story, relating to both my physical and my spiritual journey… So much mystery… It’s a relational conversation God wants us to have…as Family.

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  3. I worked in southern Colorado for three years. The migrant farm workers would have a chart going back 30 years. My nurse explained: “They do the same migration every year, Texas, to California, to Colorado.” They knew everyone in the Valley. At that time I had not lived in a place for longer than 5 years ever…. so they had mobile roots, but were much more rooted then I was.

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  4. This touches the difference between Houseless and Homeless. I have a house (inherited) that I will sometime sell. Anticipating that, I face the question, “Where is Home?” What place, if any, feels as home, the hearth of that fire that man spoke of?

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    1. Thank you Laurelwolfelives. In another part of the conversation with Steve, he mentioned the very thing you speak of — that people so often just looked “through” him rather than “at” him. Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Certainly food for thought. As one who has moved a total of 19 times, I know only too well that feeling of which you speak. I remember a time in 1967 when I quit my job, packed everything I owned (including my “record player” and my collection of LPs) into my ’66 Chevy Corvair, and drove cross-country from New Jersey to Santa Monica, California in two and a half days. My intent was to move away from home. By the time I wet my toes in the Pacific Ocean, I knew the true feeling of homelessness. It’s not one I would wish to experience ever again. Thanks for jogging an old memory. 🙂

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