Saturday, May 12, 2007

Handling a Change of Plans


You would have been horrified to have seen me yesterday. Horrified.

Why? Because Debra threw a fit. (Debra?! Yes, her.)

Tom came home from another of his monthly meetings with the powers-that-be concerning that Richmond job and he said the project has--once again--been pushed back two (three?) months. Now we are looking at moving in October.

October?! October?! That would mark one year from the time this whole thing began.

So, like, what am I (I, I, I, me, me, me,) supposed to do for the next five months? I mean, as of this Monday, this house will be ready to sell. There'll be nothing more to do to it.

And this whole year I've hardly bought anything other than groceries because I don't want to have to pack and move more junk, er, possessions, than we have already.... so there goes shopping at thrift stores and estate sales and even shopping online--for five months. (Gasp!)

And it no longer makes sense to view Richmond area houses for sale online since they'll all be sold by October (well, the vast majority).

There won't be anything to decorate around here and the yard will be done in a couple days, too, and well, in my heart, I've already said good-bye to this place where we've lived for 14 years. In my head, I realize I'm already living in the countryside of a whole other state.

Yesterday, all I saw ahead in the next five months was me sitting on our front porch twiddling my thumbs. And waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

Obviously, I don't do waiting patiently well. At least not in the big stuff. (And I thought I'd come so far. Sigh.) And yes--there's also the whole thing that this isn't a real-live problem in the first place. Not when you compare it to real, real-live problems of other people. (I know, I know... you don't have to nag me about it.)

Oh well. Reality calls are good--painful, but good... and humbling.

So anyway, you should have heard the crazy plans Tom and I (mostly I) started grasping all wild-eyed at. Ones like: Maybe, since we have a little extra money in the bank (for the first time ever), well, maybe we could use it as a downpayment on a tiny H.U.D. house and Debra could work on it over the summer and then we could sell two houses in September? But then Tom asked, "How would we make the payments on an extra house?" To which I replied, "Oh yeah. Payments. I forgot about those."

Then there's a huge four-square house for sale for just $30,000 cash around 20 miles away from us which we actually drove over and saw yesterday (nice, safe old neighborhood), so we considered selling our current house, buying that cash one and working on that. Only I'd worry about Tom every time he drove home after working nightshift... So then in a lightbulb moment I suggested, "Hey! You could quit your job and consider this a long working vacation!" But to Tom, that idea sounded rather extreme.

Well, in a space of three hours, we came up with a whole host of such ideas, including selling our house and renting one of our favorite country houses in all this land, one which amazingly, we noticed just yesterday is for rent. I even peeked in the windows and fell instantly in love with the inside (having always loved the outside). And that way, well, we could spend the summer in a country-like setting, inside a marvelous old house and be ready to move away when this Richmond job finally does turn into reality.

Now, that renting-a-dream-house idea is doable, but, if we snatched it now, we'd be making a large rental payment on top of our current house payments until this house sold, which would be a minimum of two months if it sold immediately (escrow and all that), longer if it took more time to sell... But trust me, my I-want-to-do-something-anything-NOW-side is willing to just throw caution--and money--to the wind and move out to the dreamy rental right this moment. (You'd have to see that house to understand. We've always called it our #2 dream house, after the #1 dream house farther up that country-like street).

Okay, this is long enough (and I'm even skipping a whole bag of details). The main lessons, for me, anyway, are these: If I keep my head full of complaints and fears (what am *I* going to do for five months? How can we not buy stuff we don't actually need for so long?) and whinings and splashings around in disappointment, well, I'll not be able to hear God's perfect solution. Yesterday there was such incredible discontented noise inside my self-imposed, throbbing head--I couldn't have heard God, even if He'd tried screaming.

So today my head returns to quiet... to choosing peace and yes, contentment, as well... And my heart turns back to simple trust where, on its best days, it's happiest. Only then will I be able to hear what it is God wants me to hear... His marvelous ideas of what I should do now... for only His plans are plans worth following.


***
"Out of the same substances one stomach will extract nutriment, another poison; and so the same disappointments in life will chasten and refine one man's spirit, and embitter another's."
- William Matthews

Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God..."

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