Archive for January, 2012

Hey kids!

I am off to the mountains of North Georgia for a few days– I’ll be checking in from there, hopefully with some lovely photos!   (God bless Russ for holding down the fort!)

More soon.

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.

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