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  • Psalm 90:1//John 15:5

A brave new neighborhood

Moving.

It gives you a chill of anxienty and visions of sweat drenched t-shirts, right? For some reason, I've always looked forward to moving, and maybe that's because I haven't had to do it a whole awful lot in my life. My husband, on the other hand has moved a total of fourteen times in his thrity years of life. That's an average of one move every two years. Feeling thankful now, aren't ya?

Together, we are about to disembark once again into vast suburbia. The first time we tried this, it didn't turn out so well.

We had been married for a whopping five months and were the ripe ages of 22 and 23. When solicitors came knocking on our door asking for the homeowner, their jaws would slacken and mouths slowly droop open in disbelief as my husband explained to them that he was, in fact the owner of the house, even though his clean-shaven baby face made him look about seventeen. Our family had graciously given us the gift of a downpayment for the house, and to this day, we are grateful for that.

But.

Over the next five years, we would learn that homeownership involves much more than simply living in the home. You own the cracks. You own that weedy lawn, You own the two bushes that the HOA wants you to rip up, even though they were there when you bought the house. You own that overflowing ac condensation pipe in your wall that you have no idea exists until the funky smell you've been blaming on the cat turns into a soaked carpet which needs to be replaced. You own the time that you don't spend there. You own the time that you choose not to meet your neighbors and become rooted in a community. If you can't tell, we weren't ready to own that house, practically or psychologically.

So we left.

We moved into an ancient, but fairly well maintained apartment that wouldn't completely break the bank or deny our nintey pound dog, in the heart of Houston. We got our new start there. We said goodbye to the best dog ever there. I labored for eighteen hours with our daughter there. We watched her take her very first steps there. Our faith grew and blossomed there.

But.

It's far from family. The roof in the complex needs a lot of work, thanks to decades of hurricane season rains. Our guests have no place to stay when they visit. The water goes out periodically, and is usually a deep shade of auburn when you first turn the tap on hot.

So we're leaving.

We'll own all of the cracks and leaks that will eventually happen. We'll ask our neighbors how they're doing, and actually mean it. We'll realize that the time wasted there is time that we'll never get back. And we'll love our new home, we really will. But even more than all of the homeowner's chores and woes that we now know exist, we also know that where we live isn't what brings vibrant, fulfilling living into our family; it's the love we choose to abide in.

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