Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: housing

This House of Ours

I like our house, I really do. I can’t say I love it simply because I don’t get that attached to places. Yet it is where we live so much of our lives. The early morning tea and night snacks before we turn in. Meals around our table and chats while I’m cooking. I like it. I like the fact that we have a roof over our heads and that our space is heated.

Yet it’s struck me again this week that a house takes a lot of time. In reality, the rent I pay on this place is far more than the check I write out at the beginning of the month. It’s the small repairs Garry does and the cleaning that’s required. It’s the lawn mowing and shoveling, the sweeping and dusting and scrubbing. You see, this place doesn’t take care of itself: that is our job.

And there is a balance where the more time I spend on the house the more I like it. It’s far more comfortable to work in a clean space than a cluttered one. But that takes time. It costs energy. And sometimes I get tired of this house of ours that seems to rent me as much as I rent it. 

I realize that this is true not only of the house and yard, but of our bodies as well. These are places where the real us resides, and while the external is not as important as the internal, it does matter. Our bodies need food and rest, cleaning and exercise. And that takes time. Time that I must plan for or I begin to resent what it costs. I sometimes forget that being alive means I need this body, and I need it to function, so I better take care of it.

This reflection leads to another one, the fact that my spirit is also a place that needs care. It deals in the currencies of faith and rest, stress and worry. The real me must be cleaned and renewed by the Word. Without faith it grows weary and burdened. Without attention it begin to shrivel and focus inward.

And my pondering leads me full circle to the fact that these houses of ours are both a privilege and a responsibility.

The Christmas Move

I didn’t want to move. Not even a little bit. I was rather happily settled into a comfortable house in a comfortable neighborhood with a stable routine. Things could have just continued as they were. Then there was a windstorm followed by a tree removal. This led to a conversation which made it clear that things were going to change. Immigration issues came to light. Financial concerns got bigger. Employment realities changed.

The house we were in was going on the market. We cleaned up the house and people came to work on it and photograph it and soon people were coming to look at it. No more stable routine. The house was on display and the comfortable status was disappearing. An e-mail assured us we were moving. Only there was, as yet, nowhere to go.

We prayed about immigration and finances. A committed team joined us in seeking God and answers. Friends called to let us know they were going to help cover rental costs if we stayed. Anonymous friends left a cash gift in our mailbox. Someone offered to cover immigration costs and the lawyer assured us the process could move ahead. A check came in the mail. Friends intentionally overpaid for things they bought from us. The whole process was unheard of– we are missionaries on support, and support comes through expected channels. But this was totally unexpected! One by one, the questions we had were being answered, the only outstanding one being somewhere to live.

We took a second look at a house on a Wednesday, got keys on Thursday, and started moving furniture on Friday as we began packing up smaller things. Sunday the pastor mentioned that they were late getting their Christmas preparations under way, and I realized I hadn’t even thought about Christmas. Yet the season was over-shadowed by the move, and we told people we could use some help. We were amazed at the people who showed up with willing hearts, cleaning supplies, and vehicles. Exactly one week after we’d taken a look at the house, all our things were moved to our new house and the old house was cleaned. We breathed a huge sigh of relief, though there was still a large pile of things to move out of the old garage. Soon that also was done and we settled into serious unpacking.

By now Christmas was seriously upon us, just 4 days away. Garry hung two strings of lights, we spent a fun evening chasing down a few gift ideas we’d had for our sons, and then wrapped a few presents. The amazing thing was, Christmas still came. Regardless of how prepared we were or were not, Christmas arrived on schedule, December 25th.

And the reality is, we had an amazing celebration of Jesus. We were amazed at what God had done in getting us moved. We enjoyed family. We relaxed in our new house and were thankful to be warm and comfortable. We made new memories. We enjoyed family times in the new-to-us living room. We ate meals at our dining room table and gave thanks for food and togetherness. We started a puzzle and began organizing photos to scrapbook.

Given other options, I still wouldn’t choose to move over Christmas. But sometimes, the things we wouldn’t choose are the best gifts we could get.

Dissecting today

These days feel wearing. New, yet familiar. The wondering, the rush, the chaos. The early mornings and long conversations. The expectancy and the dread. The intertwining of lives and the utter aloneness. Right now the crisis is simply about a place to live and a paperwork dilemma. There are enough supporting stresses and questions to make life feel unstable. These days pull me back to other days.

img_0745Checking in on the radio as the sun peeked over the horizon. News that there was a medical emergency. The dew soaking my bare toes as I went to tell Garry what was happening. Rushing when I headed back inside to get him breakfast and whatever else he needed for the trip. The radio static alerting the boys to a change of plans. Their young faces wide-eyed as they emerged from their bedrooms still half asleep but in need of an explanation. Kevin adjusting his hat as he squared his shoulders and headed out the door to help Garry fuel and load. Kaleb doing his best to lighten the mood as he ran between the hangar and the house carrying bundles in his still-small hands and repeating the message he was supposed to pass on.

A friend visiting from Canada, our time with her shortened when we got a call from friends that their son had a brain tumor. A long drive to the hospital, meeting white-faced parents in the hallway, looking into the scared eyes of siblings, and chasing down food in a still-new city. Doctors and options and near-hysteria. Cold hotel rooms and short nights. Coffee from the best places in town. Long conversations that allowed us all to avoid the issues at hand. Tears as we discussed the realities they were facing. Quick conversations with the boys and our visitor, making sure all was ok at home.

House-hunting in various countries. Run-down apartments and weather-beaten houses. Tiny yards and empty swimming pools. Compounds and complexes. Mobile trailers and abandoned dorms. Security options and neighborhood questions. New friends and adjusting expectations. Carrying babies on the house hunts and then following teens as they surveyed possible homes.

Suddenly, this place is neither scary nor new. It is the familiar reworked. It’s a scene in a book. It’s the unfolding of a story. It’s called life and this demands faith.

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