My husband and I have been discussing for a while about what to do with our house. It’s about 90 yrs old and has a lot of issues…wet basement, drafty doors and windows, a leaning garage, very small bedrooms, dysfunctional/old/small kitchen, and the list could go on. We could fix it up as there is a part of us that would love seeing its potential, in a sense seeing it redeemed. The practical side of us however says that anything else we would do to the house would increase its value and we would never get the money out of it due to its location. In fact, it’s because of the location that we would like to move.
We have trains and a metal fabrication shop on one end of our block and a dairy factory on the other end of the block and all seem to run 24 hours. We have an Elvis impersonator who lives down the block and appears to open his doors, or at least his front porch, to several souls who have no where else to hang out. They don’t bother anyone, they are just interesting. A couple of doors down from him is a good ole’ boy in overalls and drives a plywood sided pick up who periodically sells things from the corner of his very full property. Right now you can get 4 truck tires for $50 (just reduced from $100). We witness midnight screaming matches, we have people who stop by our house looking for a previous owner as they apparently used to throw “awesome parties”, and a couple of doors down they recently lost their lizard when they brought it outside for some fresh air and have asked us to keep our eyes open (they will be putting posters up soon). We’ve had things stolen from our cars, garage and even the Welcome mat off our front porch the week we moved in! In addition to those already mentioned, our neighbors are very transient, as half the block contains rentals, and all the residents are as varied as they come: nuclear families, widows, widowers, singles, couples, those who are separated, live-ins, single-parents, ethnic families, formerly incarcerated, former neighbors now-incarcerated, mentally challenged, physically challenged, home bound, home-less (those perched on Elvis’s porch) and I’d wager to guess many spiritually starved. All in all, it doesn’t add up to the pretty picture I have in my head of where I’d like to live.
Although Mark and I have considered buying more recently, I’ve actually wanted to move for a long time so when Mark suggested looking for something new it was exciting to consider the possibility. But after looking just a few times, it was apparent that we wouldn’t be able to afford what we were looking for. The realization was very disappointing and I must admit my attitude was a little sour for a short while. I can’t tell you why, but one morning the thought then entered my head again…why don’t we just plant ourselves here, I mean really dig some hearty roots, as opposed to always thinking of a way to get out of here. No, the environment is not ideal and the financial investment is illogical, but the idea of fixing up this little american bungalow would be rewarding and maybe our home would end up being a light in the neighborhood, both physically and spiritually. We could fix the flaws, update the dated, and increase that which is insufficient. No sooner had I entertained this idea when I walked outside onto my worn deck, looked past my leaning garage, and found several vibrant petunias growing in the middle of a large crack on my driveway. I was so suprised. How did I not see these before, the only thing surrounding them are weeds and driveway! Some irony that struck me later is… the petunias I purposefully planted in a fertilized, spacious, well-watered flower bed in the front of the house have been struggling to grow, and these blooms that I didn’t plant that are in the midst of undesirable conditions and in an unlikely or unlikable place, have taken root and bloomed. The sight made me both smile and tear up.
The trite phrase “Bloom where you are planted” rolled around in my head for a little as I looked at these flowers. I then related it back to staying in this house, and actually any place where God plants us…in a job, church, relationship, family, situation, event, etc. Our plans are not always God plans; His ways are not our ways. I am assuming He gives each of us circumstances in which to abide in for a set time to see what we’ll make of it, as well as to teach us more about Him. So, we will move forward and see what God will do. It will be interesting to see what will happen.
Thank you Father for speaking to me so specifically and beautifully. For never taking Your loving and purposeful hands off of our family. Amen.