Thursday, March 24, 2011

Once Upon a House

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
- Romeo and Juliet

I suppose the same question might be asked of a house.

What makes one house better than another? Or in our specific case, why the urgency to look into the possibility of purchasing the one we have lived in and rented for the past two years rather than waiting and searching for a bigger/better/cheaper home in Iquique?

The answers are varied (and various.) After our very first visit to this house, before we had even moved in, I wrote this post. In conclusion to my written thoughts, I typed: "... even though there may be parts of our new house that aren't "perfect," the most important thing about it isn't that it fits every one of our wants or desires - but that it places us in the perfect location for reaching out to those who need to know Christ."

Two years later, those words still prove true.

There are still parts of our house that aren't "perfect," not the least of which (at least by American standards) is its size. We've added two more children for a total of seven people living in a three-bedroom house. Recently we purchased a triple bunkbed for the boys' room, and the girls use a trundle bed with the bottom mattress pushed in and out of sight every morning. Our oldest daughter Eva longs for a bedroom of her own, though we assure her this is good practice for (a) rooming with someone at college and (b) sharing a room with her husband someday. (She is still not convinced.)

On the other hand, our house has many positive characteristics. It is sturdy (important for an earthquake-prone country) and attractive. We receive a lovely cross-breeze every day (vital in the summer without air conditioning.) It is safe, with a metal gate that dwarfs those of our neighbors and metal "protecciones" on most windows, as well as an alarm system (comforting in a city with frequent break-ins and robberies.) It has a small but functional tv room/office which is an addition (not standard on surrounding houses) as well as a built-on laundry room with hook-ups for washer and dryer (also not standard on surrounding houses.) It has room for parking two cars, which is a characteristic that is hard to find here in Iquique. While the back yard is small, at least we have one - and the parking area provides a comfortable eating area when the cars are pulled out. The road on which we live is wide, a quality one can't truly appreciate until routinely trying to park and drive on tight city streets. We are only five minutes' drive from church, and five minutes' drive from the kids' school. And in case of a tsunami, we are above the water line (very assuring when the city is being evacuated!)

But perhaps most importantly, as I wrote back then, is its location. For two years Owen attended a neighborhood pre-school and we still say hello to the teachers as they walk past our gate each day. We still greet other parents whose children were his classmates and who live in the neighborhood. Our daughter Eva's teacher recently moved just a few blocks away. A therapist from the Teleton where our daughter Isabel attends lives a couple of blocks from us. Last year, after the second Christmas where we gave cookies to our neighbors, the family next door invited us inside for a visit for the first time. The neighbors on the other side love our kids and talk to us nearly every day. Several houses down, a family sent their teens to camp with our church youth.

We would hate to lose these connections that have taken these past two years to build. Iquique is a city of transition, there is no doubt about it. Families come and go frequently due to the nature of mining jobs. We ourselves will be leaving for a year come January, but we will come back - and if we return to this house, we feel it will make a statement of commitment to this place and the people here.

Last but not least, we feel it would be a blessing for our kids to have one stable place to call home. I myself did not have that growing up - we found a new house after each furlough - and I recall enjoying the moves (of course, I didn't have to do all the work that my poor mother did!) But I did not have as many moves prior to coming to Chile, nor as many places to travel on furlough, as my own children will experience. In contrast, our oldest daughter Eva lived in eight houses by the time she was eight years old. We'd love to be able to provide this kind of stability, if that is what God wills.

And that is the crux of the matter. No matter how much we like the idea of buying this house, we want first and foremost to be sure that it is God's idea, too. We are asking Him to make His will perfectly clear to us in this area. We've asked Him to show us by whether the owners are willing to sell; by a reasonable price in this inflated city; by providing the financial means; by giving us complete peace on the matter. The last thing we want is to be handcuffed to a house that is not His best for us.

Please pray for us. This is new and uncharted territory for our family, but we are thankful that our Guide is ever the same!


StacyandChad said...

I'll be praying that God provides clear and discerning wisdom to you as you decide what is best for your family!

Terri Fisher said...

Praying for wisdom!

Deborah said...

Absolutely praying, Sweet Friend! Such good thoughts, all the way around. Love you! <3