Hey, Everybody– It’s “Self Indulgent Musings and Unexpectedly Ponderous Quotations” Friday!

So, you know that wonderful house in Columbia that I kind of had my heart, soul and every fiber of my being sights set on?

Yeah. Somebody bought it.

Don’t ask.

(Actually, you don’t have to ask because I have a tendency to never suffer in silence, so trust me, you’re about to hear it!)

Here’s the short—oh, who am I kidding?— version:

We have spent months (Literally. Like, THREE of them.) trying to ever-so-gently ease the owner of the house into entertaining the idea of accepting a contingency contract (because we simply cannot ever risk  getting into a ‘making two house payments’-type situation) (again)– even though she had already turned down two other contingency offers. Finally, after lots of tippy-toeing and negotiating on our part, the owner’s realtors sat her down and had a come-to-Jesus talk about the realities of the real estate market and she actually agreed to sell us her house, contingent upon the sale of ours! Yay! We wrote up the contract, she countered, we countered back, she said yes, and I totally did the Snoopy Happy Dance all over the kitchen. We signed the final contract and made plans for Lynne to hand-deliver it to the owner the next day. I spent that evening in a haze of gratitude and wonder at our good fortune– this absolutely perfect (for us) house, so much nicer than we ever expected to find, at a great price, sitting on 11 acres of gorgeous land was now ours! I was sloppily overflowing with love for all mankind, not to mention God (who, I figured, had worked it all out for us partly because He was tired of hearing me talk/pray about it). After sitting up in bed with my laptop for hours poring over the pictures of the soon-to-be-ours house and mentally placing every stick of my furniture in it, I finally made myself turn off the light at 1:30 a.m., happily rolled over and drifted off to sleep dreaming of sugarplums, new beginnings and that fabulous tub in the master bathroom…

I awakened at 7:00 to the sound of the phone ringing and Lynne’s worried voice saying, “We have a problem.” Some people who had looked at the house months before had just sold theirs, and showed up with a cash offer and the ability to close in 4 weeks. We couldn’t compete with that. They got the house.

When it was finally, terribly clear that we had indeed, irrevocably lost it, I got in my car and drove straight to Columbia. I pulled up in front of the driveway in the pouring rain, cried, prayed, and said goodbye. (I also may or may not have sobbed out a verse and chorus of “It Is Well With My Soul.” I wish I was kidding. What can I tell you, losing houses brings out the melodramatic in me.) Then I heaved a trembling sigh, and took the long way home, crying my way across three counties in the process.

To be completely honest, I spent the next week or so couple of days walking around with my heart cocking its head to one side like the RCA dog, half-expecting to hear that God had suddenly stepped in!!! And pulled off a big ol’ miracle!!! I’d get another phone call from Lynne, but this time she’d say, “That other contract just totally fell though and it’s YOUR HOUSE AGAIN!” I just wanted it so badly, I couldn’t imagine that God didn’t want it for me, too– even though I had specifically and repeatedly asked Him to “Please knock down every door if this is the right house for us, and please slam them shut if it’s not.” That’ll teach me.

OK, before you say anything– I know, I KNOW!

“It’s just a house, and there will be other ones, and better ones, and God has something extra-special waiting just for us, and it’s a test of our faith, and you have a cousin who knows someone who lost a house just like we did and they ended up with this fabulous Taj Mahal dream house for so much less money than the other one, and there could have been something horribly wrong with this one that we were protected from like radon or black mold or killer locusts,” and blah di blah blah blah. I get it. I even (reluctantly) believe it… but damn it, we wanted THIS one!

*Sigh* Poor me– such first world problems! I realize that we are not the only people in the course of human events who have lost a house this way, and I am fully aware that this whole thing makes me sound like a selfish spoiled brat. Believe me I’m not proud of these feelings, but I’m being totally transparent here. Call me a shallow Christian if you want to, but I just couldn’t understand WHY it all went down that way, and I really wanted to. It felt like God had lovingly fulfilled our wildest dreams, and then changed His mind or something. If He never intended for us to have this house, why did He let us find it and spend months working towards getting it, only to literally at the last minute have it snatched out of our hands? It just felt… mean.

Suffice to say I was, as we say in the South, tore-up about it. I didn’t shake my fist at the sky and get mad at God; I just kinda went numb and slunk into my corner to lick my wounds. I told myself all of the things you tell yourself in these situations, that this was just a house, it wasn’t like losing Daddy for crying out loud, I needed to get over it. I told Russ and the girls (who get VERY NERVOUS when they see me really down, because frankly, it doesn’t happen that often!) that I was just going to have to feel sad until I didn’t feel sad anymore– and then I would get off the pity pot, square my brave little shoulders and move on. Which I have, for the most part. The shock has faded, I can talk about it without tearing up, and I am doggedly checking the internet every day for new listings in Columbia while continuing to show our house like crazy. God and I are fine. Life goes on.

But this morning, while languidly perusing dozens of  houses (THAT I DON’T WANT), I suddenly remembered a quotation by an ancient Greek writer/philosopher that I wrote down a long time ago–

(Quite the looker, isn’t he?)

I searched my computer until I found it, and here it is:

“He who learns must suffer. Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart– until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

I realize “suffer” may sound a bit strong for a failed real estate transaction, but the principle holds.  I hate it, but it’s true, at least for me– I do seem to learn more of life’s deeper, more resonant lessons when I’m hurting than when I’m just sailing merrily along through life. Which, honestly? SUCKS. Because I am truly not that hard-headed– the Universe really doesn’t have to drop an anvil on me to drive the point home, you know?

I don’t know what deep insight I’m supposed to gain through this experience– I haven’t gotten that far yet, this is still pretty fresh. But I have to admit that, as our bald friend above so beautifully puts it, in spite of (or maybe because of) my despair, and against the way I think it should be, I truly do believe that if I’m open to it, some kind of wisdom will indeed come out of this “through the awful (and merciful) grace of God.”

Because even when I’m acting whinier than the Israelites in the wilderness, the truth is I really do trust Him.

So. Give me your thoughts, please.

47 Responses

  1. swerchon

    Tori I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your Utopia.

    I have had absolutely NO luck with trying to buy a new home myself. I have tried a few times and each time I failed. In fact I had bought a brand new home (from builder) and visited and prayed over the unbroken land, took pics etc.. I did purchase it and arranged for deposits until the completion of the home. I left a deposit and waited for the house to be built and a few months later I was downsized from my job. So I went to the builder and asked if they could “wait” for the remaining deposits and they said NO. As well (more salt into my wounds), they refused to give back the deposits I have made. Soooo, not only did I NOT get my dream home, I even lost money…aaarrrggg! So I gathered that the Lord wanted me to stay put, so I did (reluctantly)

    I can so understand how you feel. My only suggestion to you (which you already know), keep looking and the PERFECT home in the town you want will come in HIS time. I believe that it will be even far more of a Shangrala then the one which fell through. Hang in there!

  2. jonny

    I’ve felt that way, and have experienced similar, with an apartment I really wanted but didn’t get. The apartment I have now is without question the MOST ideal for my life situation the last few years, and presently, and is also, without question, the nicest flat I’ve ever had and in an EXTREMELY good location. Many envy me presently as a result. Serious. I also had a similar experience with a job I thought for SURE the Lord was preparing me for and leading me towards. It all seemed like a done deal, then I didn’t get it. Interestingly enough I did get that job a few years later and it was a night – mare experience, affecting my health. But it did bring me back to Helsinki where the Lord clearly wanted me. And now, frankly, I’m scared. This latest entry didn’t help.

    It’s probably pretty amazing how heart and mind. feelings and intellect, can be so out of sync with each other at times. Maybe more often than not. Right now I have a ‘special’ someone in my life that probably has an even stronger hold on my heart and hopes than anything I’ve experienced to-date. We’ve known each other less than two months, so anything could happen at this point. Even though she lets me know she feels and wants the same, I’m just not ready to do the ‘Snoopy Happy Dance ‘ quite yet. I guess I feel the same way about a new relationship as I do the first trimester of a pregnancy. It’s the riskiest part of a new relationship. Anything can, and could happen. I even do what I can at times to let God know He’s still first just so I’m able keep this desire that fills my heart in human female form; even if it’s more like snapping my my fingers at a red light so it will turn green at the command of my ‘snappings’. Yes, believe it or not, I often have to snap more than once. Anyway, I trust He knows best, for both of us, and His will will rule at the end of the day because He truly does love us both, more than we could ever comprehend or imagine, but it is still scary at times.

  3. Tanya Sykes

    OH BOO! So sorry your lost it. Been there, complete with pity pot. I’ll spare you all the, “something’s better down the road platitudes,” and just say, well shoot, at least you got a great blog post out of it. :) Love you girl and don’t worry, you’ll find your Tara. After all, tomorrow’s another day.

  4. chillybean

    I “often” have trouble fully accepting the fact that God has a plan for me. In my heart I know he does, but dangit, why won’t he just listen to MY plan sometimes, ya know?
    But I know from experience when I fight his plan, it always bites me in the rear!

  5. gracelynn

    I love you, sweet lady, and wish I was there to hug you tight. I’m not one to preach sermons so I’ll leave that to someone else. You know I pled and begged and prayed to God not to send me back to these present living conditions with my parents but, when He in His eternal wisdom said no, I sighed, licked my wounds, and came back here. And I know now why He had me return. I just had to say if this is what You want God, You are going to have to give me the strength I lack right now to do this. And He has more than done so. God’s ways are not our ways and if anyone knows that, it is me. So hang in there, know that I love you, and you’re going to make it!

  6. jonny

    Maybe something I read earlier this month ties in with all this:

    Have you been asking God what He is going to do ? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is.

  7. tori

    swerchon: Wow, sweetie– you have really done your time in real estate hell! I am so sorry that you’ve had to go through that. (That builder is a jerk.)

    small j: I totally understand and agree with your early love/early pregnancy analogy– here’s hoping you are doing the Snoopy Happy Dance SOON… (I don’t snap my fingers at red lights. But I do point my finger and say, “NOW! NOW!”

    Tanya: Thank you, darlin’. And when we do, I fully expect you to throw on a big ol’ hoop skirt and come visit!

    chillybean: Yeah, my butt has a few teeth mark scars, too.

    gracelynn: Appreciate it, my friend. And I admire your courage.

  8. jonny

    Concerning swerchon; She has !! = /

  9. Gramma Jac

    Oh man, on the last of your posts I had just commented on you writing Bein’ Happy–when you’re out singing “It is well with my soul” with sobs thrown in for syncopation! I am SO SO Sorry!!!

    jonny, I like that “God does not tell you what he’s going to do; he reveals to you Who He is.” I have to sit, ponder, and let that one seep around and through my brain cells!!

  10. jonny

    Cool ! Grateful I tossed it out there then = ) It’s from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest; non up-dated version.


  11. belinda

    Been there, done that and it totally SUCKS!!!!! It is NO fun at all and it’s okay to cry. Hang in there girl! I cannot wait to see what God has for you guys because it is going to be absolutely amazing. Just wait and you will see. It will be perfect and better than you ever expected.

  12. auburn60

    Yeah, we’ve had the real-estate rug pulled out from under us several times and it’s hard when you’ve been picturing your towels in the new linen closet and mentally watched yourself presiding over backyard bar-b-ques in your own perfect Eden.

    Silly Tori, the obvious problem here is that Linda and I had not scoped out OUR properties on either side of yours in this particular location in Columbia, mine complete with graveyard and all within walking distance. However did you think THAT was gonna work? :)

    Wish I had known you were in such a funk lately. We could have cried it out together and I promise I would have had no inclination to give you any hearty “Buck up, Girl!” speeches. We would have wallowed till it had run its’ course. I thought I was experiencing the ” funk to end all funks”, and recently used phrases I never thought I would use in my own blog to express how low I could go. * Now that I re-read that, it doesn’t sound too inviting after all.*

    Columbia is a great area for properties like you described. I’ve looked there, too, mainly online and I’m sure some other will catch your eye soon.

  13. DonnaMariePatterson

    That’s a hard one. So sorry for your pain. I was pondering my life [while watching ‘Lassie’] and an old man told Timmy: “Timmy, God’s ways are hard to understand sometime. ‘Faith’ is more than just a word.” Such simple truth in a 50’s television show. Love ya!!

  14. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh Tori, this hurts my heart….so before I say anything else I want to just give you a warm hug and shed a tear with you. I just knew you were going to get that home; but I was afraid to mention it to you…kinda knowing that if you would be moving in, then we would have heard from you……your voice ringing out across those green pastures.

    As for words of comfort….this is one of those disappointments of the heart that just takes time to get over. In fact, the only healing medicine is the first time you spot another house of your dreams and start making plans toward being able to build your nest within. As a fellow Christian, you’ve used every single dad burn response that I would have said….and believe. The best thing I can tell you is that all of us on here will be praying that very thing will happen very soon. We are gathered together in spirit and in our prayer for our sweet Tori’s dream house.

    He won’t let you down…..I mean, has He ever?!

  15. LindaB

    Oh crap. :(

  16. LindaB

    (I was speaking to Tori. Not Barb.)

  17. tori

    Gramma Jac: Ha! Yeah, I run the emotional gamut.

    jonny: That is one of Russ’ all-time favorite books.

    belinda: Thanks, Belinda. I’m sitting tight!

    auburn60: Gurrrl, what is going on in your word that has you in a funk? Do I need to kill anybody for you?

    DonnaMariePatterson: Thanks, darlin’. Words of wisdom from the Lassie show, who knew?!

    MommaLloyd: You always make me feel better! And you’re right– He never has.

    LindaB: EXACTLY. (And I knew you were talking to me– Momma Lloyd wouldn’t let you say crap.)

  18. jonny

    We’ve discussed My Utmost before. Outside of the Bible, it’s my fave too = ) Oh, and for what its worth, I wouldn’t let Former use the ‘poo-poo’ word as well; especially in public. Anyway, that’s why she’s now Former = /

  19. rachelbaker

    Well, I first read this post at about 2:30 on Saturday morning. I had just been up for over an hour clearing up a just-turned-three-year-old’s vomit, washing bed sheets and trying to persuade him that it was safe to go back to sleep. I was exhausted, wondering why this couldn’t happen while his Daddy was in the country and unconvinced that I wouldn’t be repeating the whole process within an hour! So my thoughts were, ‘poor Tori, thats horrible’, ‘I need to sleep’ and ‘tomorrow is not going to be a good day’.

    I read it again yesterday with a little more perspective. I’m sorry about the house. I agree with LindaB’s sentiments entirely.

    Never heard of Aeschylus before, but I like his quote … Do you know Laura Story’s song ‘Blessings’ – it’s one of my current favourites, and it has similar sentiments. The line that gets me everytime is:

    ‘What if my greatest disappointments
    Or the aching of this life
    Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy’

  20. jonny

    It just got me as well, for what it’s worth.

  21. auburn60

    Um, yeah, would ya get your ‘Tony Soprano’ on for me and make a hit? I’ve got your back.

    Nah, really, it’s nothing murder would solve…and I’m gradually climbing out of the abyss and will be my usual sardonic self soon.

  22. Gramma Jac

    So–Tori is sad (your story made me want to kick something!) ,…auburn60 is in a funk (but luckily does NOT need a hit man)–DonnaMarie is pondering life via Lassie (who ALWAYS made me cry!), Rachel has had to deal with vomiting children with Daddy gone (oh man, I remember those days!), and jonny is in the uncertainties of a new relationship (who, by the way, would need our approval for this to go much further–I’m just saying jonny!)I’m just in a “trial” right now,…but through all of you I’m reminded my God is there with me.

    Anyway, I’m saying a big inclusive prayer right now for all my cyber-friends–and when you read this, I invite you to do the same!!

  23. LindaB

    “If you’re going through something hard, and you wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always silent during a test.”

    I just saw this on FB and thought of you. And me. And all of us. And I might add this: I’ve learned in my 64 years of living and dreaming that if you flunk the test, you have to take it over and over and over again until you get it right. That’s been my experience anyway.

  24. jonny

    Well, I have offered a few prayers for all at Gramma Jac’s request. I also sent Tori a pic of Maria, my love, to share with all of you. It’s used as the wallpaper for my MacBook, for what it’s worth. And, we just had one of the best conversations, an hour long at least, we’ve had to date. So, it looks as though God just may be honoring your prayers for us GJ = )

  25. Gramma Jac

    :-) I’m now humming “Maria” from West Side Story!!! (NOT “How do you solve a problem,….” from “The Sound of Music”)

  26. jonny

    Yes, the song has come to mind a few times, but so far I’ve been able to resist temptation = )

  27. Chubs

    I do feel bad for you and I FAITHFULLY check and read your blog just about every day. You remind me alot of myself in the way I think when something falls through. But God is in control and he has a plan. Just keep asking for his will and he will make it known!! If you need evidence, I have a blog of something amazing God did for me very recently.

  28. jonny

    Oh, GJ, I meant I’ve been able to resist the temptation of singing out loud Maria from West Side Story !!!

  29. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Gracious, jonny, I’m delighted for you, sweet pea! Now, how can we have a wedding in the middle of a blog? Sounds like a plan to me. I may be old, but I’m not slow.

    True story: I dreamed last night that Tori dyed “my” Russ’ hair a Jean Harlow…okay, a Marilyn Monroe blonde. I was relieved when I woke up. I’m tellng you, sweet Tori, blonde is not his color. It even made his singing sound…um, well, different. And I love his singing just as it is…with his dark hair.

  30. MostlySunny

    I FINALLY found my login password. Don’t ask…

    How the heck is everybody? Well, I have kept up with the conversations but just couldn’t join in – so Hey, everybody!

    So sorry, Tori, about the estate going to someone else. Bummer! Can’t explain the “why” of it all, but there probably is a lesson there (alway is). And it’s probably for your good (always is). It just doesn’t feel like it at first (always does). But I love your conclusion to it all – “the truth is, I really do trust Him.” Maybe that’s it right there! The bottom line…

  31. jonny

    OK, Barbara, good question ! If we were to color Russ’ hair a different color, what color would we choose ?? Remember, it has to be different form his on wonderful natural color !! I’d go for old lady pink, or blue myself; but that’s just me. And thanks for the marriage thoughts. We are still learning many things about each other presently, and I had to share a few things about my past which are, for most people, a hard pill to swallow. They were for her as well today. We’ll see what happens next.

    And MostlySunny, I couldn’t log in for awhile as well. Glad, grateful I’m back in now though, and really good to seeing you posting again, too = )

  32. jonny

    ‘from his own wonderful natural color’

  33. Gramma Jac

    jonny, you could always tell Maria she needs to go to this blog and meet these woman who need to interview us.

    When you reply on here, you don’t have all those nice format options that Tori is, so you’ll have to imagine Tori’s famous line through things:

    Tell her some of these women are old enough to be your grandmother (strike through)–mother (strike through) older sister!!

  34. Gramma Jac

    Speaking of women relatives, I did have some fun news today.Next November, my Gramma will be 90 but we do her parties in the summer so everyone (Dallas, southern CA, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri) can get to WI.So i put out a Facebook message and I think we have an August date. Now, while we allow guys in the family :-) it is a very matriarchal sort of family. Gramma raised two daughters, a niece, me,….my cousin reminded me that in July her sister turns 40 and her daughter turns 21. My youngest will be 18 in May–all these landmark birthdays, so August is gonna be one big party after another!!!

    (A bright spot after winter finally came to WI and the Packers lost!)

  35. jonny

    The party for all those with land-mark birthdays next August sounds just wonderful, GJ !! And no worries, I won’t crash it and funk the place up with all my testosterone = )

    Oh, and I’m afraid things look like they won’t work out with Maria and myself after all. I’m good though. God has blessed me with a real peace about the whole thing. And thanks so much to those who kept us in prayer. I truly believe it has helped tremendously !! = )

  36. Gramma Jac

    Still praying, my friend! So thankful for the peace you have!

    That was to jonny–but Tori, I hope you’re reaching the “peace-place” too!

  37. jonny

    Thanks = )

  38. JanetB

    {{{{jonny}}}} (I don’t have any words of wisdom – what’s that? – for you…just a hug.)

    Gramma Jac…can I come to your party? I have a birthday in August…the big 5-0. ***gulp*** I’m already getting emails from AARP…and, curiously enough, invites to meet “other” Christian singles. (Those have really given the hubby pause…) he he he

    Tori dear…I’m so sorry about your beautiful almost-yours Eden. My only thought is about the people who did wind up with it…how happy they must be…I’m hoping that their good fortune is really God working in their lives, as well.

    Momma Lloyd…thanks for making me feel better. Dreams really are wacky. I had one last week that still has me baffled. I was arguing with my mother…she was convinced that I was fired because I’m a drug addict. ????? (For the record, I did lose my job last month – but that’s certainly NOT why!) “You need to go to the rehab!” Too funny.

    May God richly pour His blessings on all of you…grace…peace…love…and humor!

  39. jonny

    Thanks JanetB, but I really am good with this. I think being able to share a bit here helped tremendously. And I’m grateful I risked in loved, tossed the nets out once again even if no fish were caught in these waters previously. It’s all good, and I am so taken care of by the One who takes care of us best = )

    Peace !

  40. Gramma Jac

    JanetB–you’re welcome to come!

  41. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I don’t often remember my dreams….and when on rare occasion I do, I never remember even until breakfast. But seeing my Russ with sunny blonde hair has been hard to forget. Actually, he didn’t look bad….gracious, he could never look bad; it’s just when you get to my age it takes a minute longer to get used to “change.” And, as the saying goes….if it ain’t broke…leave it alone. That’s according to my intelluctual friends.

    By the way, sweet Tori, there’s a whole group of Russ’ fans praying for another dream home for our Taffs.

  42. jonny

    OK all you Southern Belles out here in Bloomr land, just came across this one a minute or two ago-

    “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God”

  43. Gramma Jac

    So no one has written for a couple of days–did you all have a good week?

  44. jonny

    Yep. Your’s OK ??

  45. jonny

    Or is that ‘Yours OK ??’ = /

  46. Gramma Jac

    It’s been a long week and I’m too tired to judge punctuation! ;-)

    A long week, but not a bad one!

  47. Barbara M. Lloyd

    jonny, I believe your’s was correct because it is a possessive pronoun indicating your week. But that’s just my opinion, dear friend.

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