Sunday, July 7, 2013

Alone in someone else's place

Being alone in a stranger's house is a little like being in the sanctuary of a church after everyone else has left. It is both unsettling and comforting. Even the home of a friend, once their energy has left, feels foreign, and a little holy. It is a space without the judgements of your unfinished projects or unending lists of things you should be doing.
In a stranger's house, in your friend's house, when they are not there.
You will wash the dishes instantly, as you dirty them. Clean up your messes as you make them, the way you always intend to at home, but never do.
Tiptoe, and smile at the carefulness with which you open doors or cabinets in order to maintain the hush.
You will, without thinking much about it, focus your time in one or two places. The altar. The pew. The aisles between them.  You will consider carefully each resource you use, a cup of milk, the electricity.
You will find yourself lingering. 
You will not behave exactly as you would if the owner were home, but neither are you the same as when you are alone in your own place.
There are thoughts to be thought here, and they are novel. Your brain is on a psychic vacation, at peace, alone but not in charge, not in your living space but not in a generic space. 

When I was in high school, or maybe my first year of college, and still part of church, there was at least one occasion where my pastor sent me home with another family. I was flipping out, emotionally spastic for some reason, and unable to deal with going to my own home. 
I was sent to a stranger's, or a relative stranger's. 
They weren't even there, for hours. I don't remember why. The house was on a lake, the couple had one small child, and I was alone.
I think I was supposed to be praying, or reading my Bible. 
Mostly what I ended up doing was just sitting alone in the quiet of someone else's life.
Their mail is on the counter, their snapshots on the fridge, their art on the walls and their shoes in the foyer.
Nothing in this space is you. You could be anyone. 
There is something freeing about it.
Something that makes it hard to be agitated. Without trying, your soul just pauses. Hushes. 
Something about the lack of obligation, of reminders or anchors of the expectations of who you are, allows all of the panic to slough off.
You lay down on the balcony, in the shade, with the breeze blowing over you. 
You sit on the deck, in the sunshine, and listen to the leaves brush against one another.
You stretch out on the sofa, somehow the most comfortable sofa you've ever been on, cool against your skin.
The other people, their life, seems perfect and completely in balance when you are in their space without them. They must feel this sense of constant peace and wholeness all the time, that you feel now, sitting in the quiet reading a book, or watching the lake.
Freedom to just be.
You have no things, but are surrounded by things. And you, the real you that exists minus your possessions and responsibilities, the child you, unselfconscious and simple in purpose, expands to fill up the space. 
You are more poignantly alone in a stranger's house, but more poignantly free as well, for there are no parents here.
No rules, other than what you create according to your bonds with the owner.
This is a healing space.
Who am I 
I am this peaceful quiet flow of thoughts 
I am whole

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