Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • We live in a box. It's a very pretty box full of lovely things, but it's a box nonetheless. We have been living there nearly five years. In 2008 we had finally decided that this was it, we were moving back to Colombia. We emptied our house on our front yard and sold everything we could. Except our books of course which are like members of the family. But our baking rack, our dressers, solid oak mirrors, table and chairs, television and movies, chairs, anything that could not fit in a suitcase went. Brinkley stayed with us of course, but our two cats, Lady and Sassy we gave away through heartbreak and tears." It was all for the cause", I told myself as I loaded Lady into the carrier. I smiled politely at the Humane Society worker, walked through the door and never looked back. I climbed into our blazer and sobbed like a little girl for a long time. "All for the cause..."

    We moved into a furnished 500 square foot box temporarily, or so we thought. Friends of ours had a love for Honduras and they knew of our desire to move back to a place that gave us a purpose. They knew well what living in two worlds was like. Two cultures, two languages, two loves. Nothing was familiar in our little box of a home, but it was quaint and clean and quiet. We made plans and saved money for a very short while, until one morning we got up to find that the market had crashed. We both lost our jobs that day. We both lost our insurance. Four days later our car died. Then our computer crashed the day after that. To top it off, Brinkley went gallivanting off into the woods and got doused by a skunk right in the face. Fun times.

    The little money we had saved kept us afloat for a few months, just enough to use it all up right before my husband took the first job that came along at 8 dollars per hour. We were relieved that we had less debt and less monthly outflow, but our hopes of returning to Colombia anytime soon, quickly dissipated with the crumbling economy. The weekly support we offer to our family in Colombia became harder and harder to match as the value of the dollar up against the peso continued to fall. We bit our fingernails, twiddled our thumbs, traded our car in for something smaller, and continued to bathe Brinkley on a regular basis.

    Five years later we are still living in a box. We have had many blessing in this time, but with the addition of our family, we have graduated from a shoe box to a ring box so we have decided to buy a house and settle. Settle. I have always hated that word. It sounds so...ordinary, so average. Maybe it is the approaching middle age blues talking but I think I am realizing that I am not special after all. I am average. Maybe I was not born to do flashy things, but to do behind the scenes things that no one will ever know about. Or maybe my time has passed altogether....

    As I pack up my boxes of books and wooden trinkets collected from summers of yard sales, I feel in a way that I have failed. I look forward to a new future but the shame of not going back when I said I would haunts me like a bad reoccurring dream. Does absence make the heart grow fonder, or forgetful? The longer you stay away from a place, the easier it is to stay gone. I do not want to be guilty of sitting back in a life of ease, with cell phones and laptops, full cupboards, and new shoes, while so many others go without in other places. My conscience will not allow me to rest. Something inside me wants to give away everything I own and eat from a chipped porcelain bowl with my bare hands while watching dark skinned children play barefoot. But if this desire is simply so that I may ease my conscience, it is not godly either. "The cause" must be for the good of the other and not for ourselves for it to be Holy instead of selfish and self fulfilling.

    So half of me is excited to move to somewhere where I can turn in a circle without bumping into someone or something, walk in a straight line for more than two seconds and not run into a wall, and eat at a table where the ceiling doesn't loom over me and I bump my head when I suddenly get up to grab the salt. And the other half of me wants something that requires more of me than just the average. I am a woman walking into the ocean, I am a woman walking out of the ocean. I cannot make up my mind. I cannot make up my heart.

    "What I hope is always divided." - M.S. Merwin
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.