I have walked through many Shape-Shifter Doors to Change.
Black and white picture hues of my first Colorado home. I ran around the outside of the house as a toddler, trying to get away from my Mom. Now I’d run in circles just to get her back. My Dad held my hand as they sewed stitches after twirling in circles and cracking my head. I hunched my shoulders when asked a difficult question. I had three Siblings to play with then.
We moved to the house on the hill with pillars and double white doors that played harmonica in the wind. We would sled down the backyard and street in the winter, rode bicycles, and had neighborhood baseball games too. I gained a brother, then one by one, three moved out to leave me and my brother, just two. The marriage was broken and we were broken too.
The house on Elder brought layers of change. As a cat climbed the screen door, reaching for blue sky, I was trying to climb my way out of puberty, abuse, and pain. I rode the bus to Mullen when I could to visit my Dad and Grandma. Letters were written faithfully as phone calls were expensive back then.
I rented a place of my own, a one-bedroom apartment with a sliding glass door to a balcony where Mom and I mended our fences over barbecues on my tiny red grill. I learned how to live alone, pay bills, and become an adult there; through heartbreak and mistakes with stunts and a bit of growth too. We had many fabulous family events with laughter, cooking, and bonding too.
The brief duplex relationship; so brief, I can’t recall the color of the door, as love was broken in two. I only remember painting walls to get a discount on the rent, no refrigerator, but a garage to park the car.
I opened the door of the Condo each day, first deep in depression then as a pregnant woman of anticipation and strength. I carried my newborn son through to single-parent motherhood. A protective strength came from somewhere deep to escape the unsafe neighborhood.
A feather floated down to the porch on the day I lost my Dad.
I became a Mobile Home Owner with a place to raise my son. I watched him grow and learned to let go as he pedaled around the corner to visit Grandma. I choke on the memories of so many years. A feather floated down to the porch on the day I lost my Dad. He leaves me feathers often, everywhere I’ve been. I carpeted and stained the porch. I replaced toilet parts. I repaired the roof. I landscaped to make it a magical home. I looked through the long thin window on the door to witness Winter Blizzards, Spring Flowers, Summer Trees, and Autumn Leaves of Change. A place where I learned that this too shall pass.
Pass it did, to a porch with a door to a cabin in Kansas. Autumn consumed me with Depression and Loss. Then Winter took my Mom who was also my Best Friend. I lost my perspective, definition of myself, and finally a bit of weight. The Family Foundation cracked from the stress of it all.
Roll on down the road with two cats and a tent. Backpacks full of scattered belongings and long-lost dreams. Dreams that were zipped up with chilly days of Spring. Question marks popped upon the sound of rain. My heart froze in the snow and blew away with the wind. I grew a thicker layer of skin from who I was to a new beginning.
This wouldn’t have been possible without my Saint Francis friends who gave me a fresh layer of strength, hope, and a fresh suit of armor.
The places I stayed were numerous; Sheridan Fishing Lake, Saint Francis, Smoky Gardens, Karval Lake, Brush, the Car, and Brush for one more day as I fought to make my way home. It was then that I realized I will never have a home again. A place to call my own.
Armed with lessons and memories from the places I had been, I made my way back to the cabin in Kansas to mend Family Fences. The door opened to Spring and Summer with shattering cracks of thunder, denting hail, and days of wind and heat. Fences were mended through the Summer heat but were ripped from the ground in the Fall.
Autumn chill brought a new tent to replace the one with broken poles from winds that whipped through Spring. I also bought a Buddy Heater, a new required friend. We zipped away the chill once more and my skin was tough to match new skills. Days to weeks brought amazing Angels who gave me a boost to keep on living. We started in Saint Francis then stayed at rest areas, one day at a time too. We settled at Smoky Gardens for a while then bounced from rest areas back to Saint Francis where we witnessed a massive place of burn. Back to Smoky Gardens for a bit then to blips at rest areas as we went through living hell.
Then a generous man brought me out of the ashes and held out a helping hand. We followed him down a dirt road of mud and slush to a wooden porch and door to a Farm full of change. My friend gave us shelter from cold winter blasts to beautiful sunsets across the Kansas plains. Old cars and trucks were planted on the Farm as a reminder of time and history long forgotten; bitter roots swayed as we reflected on our long lost memories.
I needed solitude to get through Christmas time. Yes, I left the Farm abruptly and hurt my friend’s feelings too. Antelope Lake embraced me and healed my throbbing migraine and took away some of the scorching pain in my heart still full of grief. Geese flew over and Coyotes howled as I came back to nature to heal.
My friend opened up his heart and home again as we returned to the Farm. We were greeted by three happy dogs and the fourth finally forgave me as well. Together we entered another season of change. My friend found love and I ventured off to search for companionship as well.
I jumped through a hoop of hope and returned to Colorado for a blip. One man’s door opened to four cats, remodeling chaos and nothing to gain. He was only fifty and decided to live alone. At least he paid for the work I had done to ease his guilt. I paid my car insurance for safe and lengthy travels ahead.
Another man, an Angel, welcomed me to his home in my urgent time of need. It was a place of grief and lingering pain from the loss of his wife, and yet the cats and I were comfortable there. We both healed a bit with conversations and in a brief time, we became fast friends. Deep inside I knew I needed to return to Kansas once again. Before I left I was blessed with a bittersweet visit with my son and grandchildren. As I shut the door I was greeted by falling snow. It was time to return to Kansas; a place that I now call home. We returned to Kansas and stayed in the tent at a rest area for one night. Then we traveled to Antelope Lake where Coyotes, Geese, and Cows welcomed us. I wasn’t quite ready to return to the Farm.
My friend and his love welcomed us; although the Farm had too many people now and changed the comfort level within my skin. He understood my discomfort and let us stay in an old mobile home planted high on a hill. One door was gone and another barely held on the hinge. We lived in a tent in the living room. The wind blew the curtains and caused vibrating bowling ball sounds from front to back on the roof. We survived, but the nights were eerie with rodents scurrying about. We lasted there for a week. Down the dirt road, we went back to the Farm and moved into the basement to live in a tent. As I passed through two old narrow wooden doors, I set up the place as best as I could to make it a place to call home. My friend lost his love and the Farm became a place of grief. Perhaps I would have stayed had it not been for the leaking pipes and flooded floors.
I headed South to Dodge City in my search for companionship. He had a house with a yard and a clothesline. He also had a cat that despised me. Church bells pealed through the air and swarms of birds flew north to remind me of whence I came. We passed through the door with a new layer of hope; though I gave more than I got as the heartache cut deep. ‘We are two different people,’ he said. Yes, I was the one who was a homeless, broken, shattered mess.
I traveled onward to Ford Fishing Lake where I set up a tent with crying eyes and a broken heart of rejection and pain. I yelled out loud then healed quickly with nature and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I found my strength and forgot about dreams as the need for survival kicked in with horrific wind storms and rain. The tent poles caved in, so we slept in the car. We moved back to the tent for a few more days of reflection and healing.
Faith brought me through so many fragile hours of weather, unanswered questions, and a life spent living in a tent. Everything I endured over several months of time made me appreciate simple moments that may have been missed otherwise.
Fence posts from Autumn began to mend with brief conversations in the Spring. Forgiveness is the hardest, yet a most rewarding thing.
I said a bittersweet farewell to the lake on a cold and rainy day as the cats and I traveled northwest to Colby for another fresh start. We drove through the storm and I embraced one more chance to find companionship. He brought me through the white door where our needs were met. It has been three months of love and care. The wire of pain still resides somewhere. He said, ‘With each passing day I am used to you more and more.’ This is not easy, as there are days when I am not used to myself.
I’ve walked through many doors in my life; Shape-Shifters every single one. There are days when I don’t recognize myself, and others when I get a glimpse of who I was, or perhaps who I want to be. The biggest lesson I have learned in this Life is God will always Provide what I Need. He gave me a ‘Pass from Go’ for years and let me live in excess with most of my Family safe and present, which I am grateful for. Treasure family and those I Love. Keep them close, yet give them enough wingspan to grow. As time moves on, I hope to become a better version of myself with gratitude, recovery, love, health, and wealth.