In the past sixteen and a half years, my hubby and I have rented nine different homes. We owned one, but we stayed only a year. Neils job bounced us around from Wisconsin to Missouri to Iowa. A second diagnosis of autism in our family brought us to Texas. I was still adjusting to Noah’s autism at 3 1/2 years old when Judah was diagnosed at twenty-five months. Although I had a pretty good idea Judah was autistic at eighteen months, the confirmation brought relief, along with an introduction to another uphill battle of figuring this little character out. Without many options in Iowa at that time. I researched the country for programs, services, and support. Texas and New Jersey were the two states offering the most promise.
After two weeks of vacation ricocheting between the four major cities in Texas, Dell Technologies offered Neil a job. Within three weeks, we secured a rental house online, packed up, and completely moved into our new home. (That’s a story on its own, but one for another day!) By that time, we had eight “homes” in six years (four different states). Noah just turned four, Judah trailing by fifteen months, and I was ready to have our own place to call home.
We have now lived in Texas for a full decade. Still renting.
I used to think: I wish we could have our own place. I’d love to change things to better suit our family’s needs –and sometimes just mine. Change the colors, take carpet out of bathrooms, lay tile in other rooms. How cool would it be to have a drain in the middle of the bathroom floor?! (You who don’t know Judah, my water boy, see post https://mosaiclifeblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/word-association/) And it’d be nice to know that our money is not going into someone else’s pocket every month.
However, renting so many places has offered another perspective. Over the last couple years, potential relocation remains on the table. Although we’re still here, this feeling of living in limbo has grown from stressful to comfortable. I’m learning to live even more in the moment than I did a couple years ago (see post https://mosaiclifeblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/living-in-the-moment. I’ve grown to appreciate the flexibility of being able to pick up and go, if needed. Learning to trust God for today has provided a new approach to life for me.
Here’s how I think now: Life is temporary –just like renting. No one knows how long we are actually going to be here. “Relocation” is constantly on the table, whether we choose to see it or not. This life doesn’t really belong to me; it belongs to my Creator. Every breath I take is His breath in my lungs, as the song says. Instead of complaining about what I’d like to change, I need to find contentment in what I’ve been given today, right now. Although I have certain responsibilities to care for our landlord’s house, I still need to go to him for the big stuff. Similarly, God has given me daily responsibilities, but I still always need Him.
This life is temporary. Someday, we’ll move to a more permanent home. Until then, today we rent.