Sunday, June 29, 2014

Perspective: Loss of a Label

In the two months since I last posted, the closing date for selling my house changed five times.  Every time I made peace with staying in my house, things would start to look like I would be moving.  And every time I made peace with moving, it looked like I would be staying in my house.  It was quite an emotional ride.
But on May 28, everything came together, the paperwork was signed, and the buyers’ loan funded.  And the fees that the buyers incurred for all of their delays allowed me to cover the cost of the movers.

I had envisioned selling my house and moving to a garage apartment or to a rental house with a yard that would allow me to adopt another Golden Retriever.  My vision did not match up with the market:  garage apartments are difficult to find, and rental houses near downtown are crazy expensive due to what TCU students are willing to pay.  The result was that I ended up moving to a third-story apartment. 
I lived in a third-story apartment for three years before I bought my home, so this isn’t new territory.  And maybe that’s what has made it hard.  I’ve already done this before, and I wasn’t planning to do it again.  It feels like taking a step back. 
I know that it takes time, but it’s been difficult to make this third-story apartment feel like something other than a hotel room that I come back to at the end of the day.  But it’s kind of a catch-22:  even though I want to decorate or do what is necessary to make it feel more like home, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on things for this space because I don’t know how long I’ll be renting here. 

I had no idea when I sold my home that I’d miss the label of “homeowner” as much as I have.  The world has been pressing in, and some acquaintances have not been shy about voicing their shock and dismay that I sold my house.  It's as if it defined my worth or gave me standing as an adult.
I recently finished reading The Nesting Place.  In that book, author Myquillyn Smith describes how she took on making each of her houses a home, including “The Apartment I Thought I Was Too Good For.”  That phrase got my attention because that's exactly what I was/am feeling. 

After living in a house with an attached garage for eleven years, it truly felt like home.  The decorating was done.  The rooms were familiar.  Memories had been made there. I had spent money for a new refrigerator, a new dishwasher, a new hot water heater, new landscaping, and a new roof, as well as having the exterior repainted.  All of that was left behind.

And yet, this apartment is serving a purpose.  It allowed me to sign a lease at the last minute and enabled me to move only once, instead of having to store my things while I waited on a rental house to become available.

This whole process has given me a couple of great reminders.  For one, the only label I should ever stand on is that I belong to Christ.  No other label will stand the test of time.  The other reminder is this earth is my temporary home; nothing here—no matter if it is on the ground floor and has an attached garage—will truly ever feel completely right because my soul was created with a longing for Heaven.

And so I’ve tried to retrain my mind to think about the perks that this new season of renting an apartment encompasses:

--I no longer have a mortgage, a lawn bill, a gas bill, or an alarm monitoring bill.

--The area feels much safer than the old neighborhood.

--The commute to work is about half of what it was when I lived at my house; additional bonus:  a tank of gas can last two weeks.

--Maintenance requests are submitted online, taken care of without my taking a day of vacation, and are not billed to me.  I no longer carry around the fear of having to pay $8,000 to replace an air conditioner.

--There is no certain trash day; trash can be taken to the dumpster every day, and thus raw meat trimmings and eggs do not sit in the garage in 100-degree heat fermenting until Friday (my former trash day).

--UPS packages are delivered to the leasing office and do not sit on the door step waiting to be stolen.

My prayer is that I will continue to see the gifts of this new season of apartment dwelling and that no earthly labels are necessary.

"This one will say, 'I am the Lord's,' . . . and another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,' and name himself by the name of Israel." - Isaiah 44:5


Emily said...

This is a great post! Great reminder about what is truly important despite the messages that society attempts to impose upon us. And I love your "thankful" list at the end. Great "reframe" as we say in the counseling world!

Krista Sanders said...

So glad to have read this and hear your heart on it-- since I haven’t seen you in WAY TOO LONG!! I miss you. Yes- I love your thankful list at the end. Well written-- you risked something.