From the other side of the table, the project manager asked, “which countertop do you like best?”
Spread out between us were siding colors, countertop samples, shutter swatches, carpet squares, and booklets of options for everything from doorknobs to light fixtures to outlet covers. This process was overwhelming but exciting at the same time.
Indecisive, I replied, “they all kind of look the same to me.”
The countertop samples were slightly different hues of the same shade of dark. He went on to explain that some people were particular about how the earthy tones of the marbling swirled and folded, how we wouldn’t want it blotchy in one area but bare in another. I didn’t realize people thought or cared so much about those kind of things.
It was February of 2010, and this had become a sort of weekly “date night” for us, driving about twenty minutes west of the city to meet with the project manager and discuss our new build in the suburbs. Our brief, kid-free time together often included a cup of warm coffee, a held hand, and excited conversation about the future. With each meeting we attended, our dreams became more real. With every flooring choice, lot selection, and signed paper, they became more tangible. We could almost reach out and touch them.
Now that the home we’d pined after for years was within our grasp--a home with clean walls and air ducts, shiny new countertops and energy efficiency, and great square footage in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood--the home we were living in seemed….old, broken, dirty, and small. Little things I hadn’t paid much attention to before, like the obnoxious train whistle every night at 11pm or the frequency of police sirens during naptime, started to annoy me daily. And every time we set our sights westward and drove away from the city, our hearts moved further away, as well.
My husband had a well-paying job with a company car, our third baby was on the way, and we were eager to make our exodus and arrive at the designer home “promised land” in the summer. We had considered leaving the city before, surely, but we never felt specifically called to any other location. This development, however, had lot available on a cul-de-sac, a community pool, and with the housing market being upside down, it was cheaper to build a new house than to buy a used one, if you can even imagine that. We decided to go for it.
Things were falling into place, and we were one signature away from being proud new homeowners. We had a real estate agent for our own house, one who assured us the market was beginning to turn around, and she was optimistic that a house like ours, priced right, would sell rather quickly. Not that we would ever want to, but financially at that point, we could afford to pay the mortgages of two properties for a while if needed. Worst case scenario, we figured we could rent it out.
Life was brimming with packing, staging, planning, nesting, preparing, and repairing, much like an overstuffed laundry basket. It was a busy, full season. One chilly day on the way home from picking my daughter up at preschool, however, I couldn’t shake a lingering feeling of unease. It didn’t make any sense, but I felt like God was urging me not to move.
I spent the rest of the afternoon almost sick about it, arguing with God:
Listen here. We did the math. We can afford it, even if our other house doesn’t sell. We have a down-payment this time. We did the minimum--it could’ve been much more expensive! My husband has a good job with room to grow; life will only get better from here monetarily. The schools are better out there. The area is safer. There’s more land, and the air is fresh. It’s what we’ve always wanted.
I’m tired of the city, God. The drunk neighbors at 2am. The soundtrack of sirens on repeat. The garbage. The neighbors flinging expletives at each other in their front yard while my kids are playing outside. The sex offender notifications. The robberies. The fights in the street.
What’s wrong with dreaming of a nicer, prettier, safer, more comfortable and convenient life?
To be continued...
This post is part of a series I’m writing for the month of October called, 31 Ways God Paved the Road to Urban Missions. If you’re interested in the reading the rest of the series, you can find it here. To receive these posts directly in your inbox every week, subscribe below!