Today, we celebrate. We thank the good Lord for his incredible generosity in providing a home for us. In our present housing market slump in which mortgage companies are closing from one day to the next, we are extremely grateful for the resources to purchase a home. As the crisis in Darfur worsens, as bodies continue to gather in Iraqi morgues, as Hondurans and Nicaraguans deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Felix, I have a safe, clean home on a quiet street with old-growth trees and a park nearby.
Thank you, God. You didn’t have to do all of this. There are certainly more deserving people that us. All I can say is that I will use this home as a place of healing and community for those around me.
With keys in hand, the finality of the purchase has hit us square in the face. We are now the proud homeowners of a craftsman bungalow. I can’t believe we own a home. A stylish one at that, with all the wains-coating, hardwood inlay and built-in hutches we can stand. A backyard in which to plant a garden, a garage and a basement in which to putter. Life is good.
I never figured myself much for the homeowner type. As a teen-ager, I had dreams of living in a loft in Paris. Neither Stockton nor marriage figured in the plans. But you get a little older, a little wiser and realize that artistic expression needn’t be compromised as one settles into the quotidian drudgeries of which life is made. There are certainly plenty of hacks who live the bohemian lifestyle, and there are plenty of literary geniuses whose lifestyles are indistinguishable from that of the dullest civil servants.
A friendly mob of church folks will arrive Saturday to help us move. I love the way people from our church recognize a need and take charge.
I’m the beneficiary of their good will this time, but I’ve seen them respond to homeless and destitute visitors who attend our services each Saturday. Our church is near a few shelters and community centers, and some of the people we serve are typical for an urban ministry in a multicultural setting.
As for the house, we already have a number of plans. High on the list is taking out the juniper bushes in the front and the back. We despise them. I suppose our hatred of them dates back to our days living in Salinas. Our neighborhood had a lot of ranch style homes constructed in the 1950s, 60s and 70s with the telltale juniper bushes done in the origami style. Some of the more clever homes made oval-shaped foliage the size of hat boxes or snare drums. My wife calls these abominable bushes “drum kits.”
I experienced an odd sense of, “Oh, so maybe the house isn’t perfect” as we looked inside our now empty home. The trim had a slightly yellowed color, and some of the light switch covers had a healthy amount of grime on them. It wasn’t enough to make me run the other way, but I can see that we have several weekends of work ahead of us.
But first, it’s off to bed. The juniper will have to die another day.