House hunting

June 6, 2006

My New HouseI’m back from Austin!

What a great trip.  Where to begin?  It is soooo tempting to describe the houses I looked at, including the house with the dining room window into the shower (if it wasn’t enough to have that wonderful view during dinner, beyond the dining room the window had a clear view of the front door.  Maybe it was laid out that way so it would be convenient for the tenant to let the Avon lady know that she is indisposed for a few minutes or something).  OK, well at least the window was opaque, so when Avon calls she will only see the silhouette of the horrified person inside, and won’t be able to judge too accurately how much the prospect needs her wares.

Or, I could start by describing the “Christmas Tree Light” house- a listing that intrigued me, because it said in the listing that I read before we arrived that the “Christmas lights convey with house.”  My realtor explained to me as we pulled up that she would never want to live on this street because the whole street decorates for Christmas, and the traffic that ensues in the "somber and quiet time" of Advent prevents these lovely people from leaving their homes due to the hub-bub of the holidays.  Well, I guess it is too much work to take down the decorations, because this home had a five foot Christmas light ball still hanging in the tree, along with home-made Christmas light strands made from beer cans (with the ends cut off and pulled back to make them look sort of like flower-buds; or should I say flower-Bud-Lites.)  Anyway – the high point of this home for me was walking up the stairs to find an odd-looking room, with an odder-looking door about three feet tall.  I opened the door and bent down to look through, and there was a whole set of rooms beyond, inaccessible by any other means throughout the house.  I refer to this house as the
Alice in Wonderland house.  Beyond the small door (which I of course immediately bent over and crawled through) were three full-sized rooms, including a bathroom with a strand of (what-else) Christmas lights, with prescription pill bottles capped over each light as the decoration.

Keep Austin Weird, as they say.

Anyway – after a few of these experiences, I began to notice that the Austin real estate market in that area of my search looks much like the California market did a few years ago.  The good stuff goes within a day of being listed, and the rest is available for you to explore for a reason.

So, when we were getting close to another house, I asked how long it had been on the market.  I was already familiar with the listing, knowing that it was a fine house.  When my realtor told me it had been on the market for almost a year, I heard something.  A voice from somewhere deep, quiet, and still within me said “It’s been waiting for you.”  I got a little excited.  But I waited.

I looked at the house, and as soon as I walked in, I knew.  I knew it was the one.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than any others I had seen.  There wasn’t anything significantly wrong with it.  It certainly didn’t have any windows from the shower to the dining room, or hobbit doors leading to hidden rooms and bathrooms.  But even without knowing all that, I knew when I walked in through the front door:  this was my house.

And that was my Saturday.

Sunday was great too—I visited a church I had attended once before, and fell in love.  It was a wonderful place.  Multi-ethnic, compassionate for the people of its congregation, a caring rector and staff, and heartfelt stories of love, inclusion, peace, and justice (the sermon was on immigration reform).

Monday was the capstone.  I don’t think I want to put it in this same post, though, so I’ll save that for tomorrow.

I guess the lesson learned for me from this story was validation.  Validation that even though I knew going to Austin that the housing market was tight, even though I knew that I would find something (whether it was what I wanted or not, it would be something), even though I knew that God is a God of abundance, even though I trusted that it would all work out, even though I didn’t doubt that I would find the path prepared for me, it was still a relief to have it done.  It was a relief to know that my will was enough in alignment that I didn’t have to go walking in the desert again, even if only for a short time, to figure out where to go next and find the path again.

I believe that some good things are from God- maybe even all good things.  I believe that God is a God of abundance.

I’ll save it for another time to explain why I do not think it is a logical extension of this tenet to say that bad things are from God as punishment, or lessons, or some such.  I don’t think that it follows.

God is good.  Thanks be to God for abundance, for creation, for community, for homes, for Christmas lights, and for keeping
Austin weird.  Amen.

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No Responses Yet to “House hunting”

  1. Lin Team Says:

    Jeff,
    I am so happy that you have found a home for your family for the period of your time here in seminary. Your story illustrates why it is so difficult to find a house on the internet alone. Given that you had neither the time, interest, nor funds to undertake a wholesale remodel, I knew that the Christmas tree street house was not one for you. But it is also helpful when soming into a new market to see what else is there in order to evaluate and know when you do find the one that is perfect for you. I’m sorry I missed working with you but glad that I have Lazan and Teddy to fill out our Team.
    And I agree with you that God is good, and that good things come from God but that it does not follow from that that God is doing evil — a hard and mysterious thing to consider… Glad you’re working on that!


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