After 19 years of living in Chicago, I recently made a significant change in my life, by moving to Bellingham, Washington, which is just about as close to Canada as one could get without actually living there.
I don't know how long this change in location will last, since my living situation here is currently very unstable. But I didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter. My residence at the Lawson House YMCA ended involuntarily as a result of finding myself in a situation where I'd fallen behind on rent, and where I'd found myself in eviction court.
I'd raised a significant amount of money towards the goal of paying back all the money I owed, by appealing for help from my Facebook friends. In fact, I thought that what I'd raised ought to be more than enough to satisfy the management at Lawson House. But what I didn't take into account was that Lawson House would tack on a huge charge for their legal fees. They wanted me to agree to an additional payment plan (not counting the $2,000 I was prepared and willing to pay to them) which they themselves agreed was untenable in light of the amount of money I was currently receiving on a monthly basis.
Consequently, I followed up on an invitation, by another one of my Facebook frinds, to visit him in Bellingham, Washington, in order to share my vision for the Christian Arts Initiative with Christians from his church and from the Bellingham region.
Since the $2,000 I'd raised online had not been adequate to keep Lawson House from proceeding with the eviction anyway, I decided to use that money instead to make the move to Bellingham, operating on the premise that the aforementioned Facebook friend from Bellingham would offer me hospitality long enough to enable me to procure employment and my own apartment in Washington.
I left Chicago last Wednesday morning, so I've been here for a week so far. It was a fairly enjoyable trip, considering that I was on various buses for slightly more than two solid days, without any sleep other than the sleep I got on those buses.
Staying here has certainly been more pleasant than it would have been if I'd been forced to resort to life in a homeless shelter in Chicago. Nevertheless, whenever a person procures emergency housing by appealing to another person for such help, it's a bit of a touchy situation. It's different from just coming as a visitor, because there's no certainty with regard to how long it's going to be before one is in a position to move into one's own place. There's a level of fear that the host will require that one leave before one has adequate resources with which to do so. And even if that doesn't happen, there are sometimes rough spots in such relationships, caused by different expectations pertaining to how guests and their hosts ought to behave.
I've already experienced such situations here, but God seems to be helping me and my host to get along with one another in a manner which, if not perfect, is at least sustainable for a relatively short period of time. Even so, I strongly desire to get my own place as soon as that's financially feasible for me, so I plan to do everything I can do to procure employment in the area and to begin saving money which will be sufficient for the purpose of paying the first month's rent plus a security deposit for a reasonably decent apartment which has adequate proximity to public transportation. Bellingham's public transportation is not by any means as extensive as Chicago's. It's more like the public transportation in Sioux City, Iowa, where I lived during the late seventies. But I've seen hints to the effect that I might be able to procure a basic, relatively affordable used car more easily than I might have thought, once I procure steady employment.
It's been extremely cold here in the last several days, particularly on Monday, when the weather could have been aptly characterized as brutal, and certainly as atypical for this area of the country, which is normally warmer than areas which are further east. But I will have a friend with whom to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, and for that, I am indeed thankful.