I caught myself standing in my bathroom. I leaned on the broom handle and stared at myself in the mirror. I looked different. It was somewhat shocking. I looked like my twin but prettier or maybe lighter or maybe more color? I was someone I wanted to know or become friends with.
I could see in the reflection an empty room where my bed once was and an empty wall where a painting once hung. Everything was empty and bare and the house was no longer our own. The chandelier that hung in my bathroom was now a generic fixture. The mirror was no longer the gold-gilded antique my dad gave us, but a simple bathroom mirror from Home Depot.
Our identity was stripped from this house and it now felt blank. I had dreaded this day for so long. I used to wake up in the middle of the night with a sick feeling of impending doom that we would lose this house and all that it had meant and become homeless. I realized right at that moment that this fear had haunted me my entire life. It swirled in my head with the words from my father, “You will be a starving artist with a husband who can’t take care of you and your children will be homeless!”
Echoes From the Past: The Weight of My Father's Words
Even as a little girl, he told me unless I married an engineer I would have to live in the dump and eat garbage. In downtown Seattle, my dad would point to a homeless man and tell me to be sure I married the right person or I would end up on the streets like this guy. I watched a documentary on Ethiopia when I was a child and saw children with faces covered in flies but they were too exhausted to wipe them away. I asked my dad why their bellies were so big, and he told me, “They don’t have enough food to eat and the stomach becomes full of fluid without enough protein, this is what happens when you are starving. You should be thankful your mom married an engineer and this will never happen to you.”
When I was about eight years old, my dad told me that he found a homeless family camping in our woods and he made them leave and called the police. I couldn’t bear the idea of children like me living in the woods like Hansel and Gretel waiting to be eaten by a witch.
I realized in that moment as I stared into the eyes of this new woman in the Home Depot mirror that this great and terrible fear was gone. I had walked all the way to the very end of the road named “starving artist” and I didn’t find filth and squalor or children with ribs showing and bloated bellies. I didn’t find desolation and starvation. I found myself.
I found a woman who married a man who had the courage to live their passion. I found that we could endure anything together and remain friends. I found that our life had destiny written all over it and God would never abandon us. I realized right then that the only safe place was in the center of your destiny with a contrite heart.
The True Essence of Home and Destiny
Losing the symbol of success that was our house still stung like an open wound, but I knew that this house no longer defined me. In the end, it’s just a house- just rooms with carpet, painted walls, and nothing more.
Our home lies within us.
Home is found in our destiny. We all have a great purpose and a call. We can deny that call and pretend to not hear it, but will forever feel unanchored. We will feel the growing agony of an unfulfilled destiny. Denying our true calling or divine assignment, we will be vagabonds and wanderers drifting from one opportunity to the next.
The day we make the decision to step into our destiny and answer the call is the day our life truly begins. It takes courage. It takes strength and it is an act of love and an act of war. We vanquish the desire for what feels safe and defeat every tendency of mediocrity. But we rise and shine and meet our moment to find ourselves home in our divine journey of destiny and purpose.
This is an excerpt from my book Unemployable. I have heard from so many how much they have been inspired by hearing the audible version of this book narrated in my own voice. I invite you to hear my story and find the courage to grab a hold of your story and fulfill your destiny.