A year ago tomorrow I received an email from my realtor about the house I eventually saw, made an offer on, and bought. Now I live there and I love it.
I don’t remember much about my first viewing. It was during the daytime, and it was early spring, so some green had started to show itself (a year later it’s blanketed in Monday’s snow). The house was pretty empty, except for one of the seller’s meager belongings while they waited to sell it. There were some dingy paint colors and drapes. I remember being pretty happy with it, and then I saw the porch and the kitchen (with two giant windows) and audibly gasped. The next day before I made an offer I scheduled a second showing and marveled at the sunlight in the morning. I am writing from a similarly lit living room now reflecting on the goodness of God to make this house not only available (in all its right-ness for me), but also the growth in that year from Him.
Though living in a home alone could feed into my introverted tendencies to have my own space and keep it, I’ve been glad to have a home to host others. I could do that a lot more often (especially if I ever get around to buying bedroom furniture that would accommodate more than my sweet sister who will sleep on the hardest mattress ever made), but having the freedom to host others in my home has been huge. Cooking meals for them in that house, having room for them to park, and in a couple cases, room for kids to play, has been a gift.
Taking care of a house has been a growth area I’ve enjoyed, too. Did I enjoy discovering the rotten chicken juice in the garbage can after nearly a week of 90°F temperatures? Um, no. But I was the one who was responsible and had to deal. And I felt good afterward, once the gag-inducing smell faded a bit. Same goes for the annoying problems that required the home warranty company be called for the umpteenth time (for the record, I called them yesterday and they seem to have streamlined their automated system, though I still haven’t heard from the assigned contractor…). I’ve mowed for an entire season. I put on my brave boots and cleaned out the gutters on the backside of the house. I’ve squished some disgusting bugs.
I live in a neighborhood, too. As I’ve walked, run, and been around this part of the city, I continue to love it. I feel utterly safe here, and the people are friendly. My goodness, we had a block party this summer and just about everyone came. That’s huge. I never saw that in apartments (not that it can’t happen, but we were content to hurry in the hallways and avert our eyes whenever possible). My neighbors mostly know my name now (ha, a few of them don’t, which is awkward), and they are kind to me. It’s not the most convenient location for work, but I don’t mind the commute. It’s kind of nice to have that built-in think time before I get home. I can choose to plan my trip home to include stops, or I can make a mental list of things to do when I get home.
Did I imagine all of this (and more) being included in buying a home? No. I anticipated the quiet neighbors (not-shared walls, mostly), garage benefits, in-home laundry, and yard work. I thought I might like the neighborhood because I’d admired it before in passing.I’d heard that home ownership was hard work, and it is, but it has been worth it. I realize that many things can add to a house not being a good idea (finances, hidden issues, accidents and catastrophes), but this year has been sweet and beautiful. I will celebrate it heartily with thanksgiving to God.