This latest commitment was a bittersweet decision. Decision is the wrong word. That makes it sounds like we had a lot of options, which isn't true. We pretty much need to be here until we are at a different place financially. Regardless of that, there are some things that I love about being here, some of which I've blogged about in my series Lots of Hope in a Little Home. I enjoy having a small amount of space to be responsible for. We are close to the kid's schools which are both excellent. There is also a lot of natural beauty nearby and we appreciate every last drop of that. As strange as it may sound exposure to life below poverty level has given me insight that I would have never experienced otherwise and it's been enlightening.***
However, as far as the bitter end of the deal I have plenty that I could gripe about. My numero uno, hands down, biggest complaint is the volume control. My kids are allowed (or should I say "a loud") to be kids and the sound isn't a constant issue, so I don't want to make it out to be worse than it is. But I shutter at the thought of the woman THREE stories down complaining about how loud we are. Even if she hadn't said anything to management, knowing that other tenants can hear us has always been in the back of my mind since we moved in. Sometimes this doesn't even have to do with the kids. Sometimes it's just playing my music or singing at the top of my lungs that I feel self conscious about, or the fact that I get to hear other people too (it goes both ways you know).
My other issue is that there is no playground. Not only is there no play area on the property, but there isn't even a park down the street. There are tons of AMAZING parks, forests, trails etc. People come from far and wide to partake of the outdoor recreation that abounds in this area, but these hotspots are all about 10 minutes away or more. Which isn't terrible, but it's not like I can easily step out for some quick fresh air and exercise before bedtime.
Besides the sound levels and absence of a yard, I wouldn't mind having a washer and dryer in my house. I spent my first 3 1/2 years of marriage going to the laundry mat so it's not that foreign to me. And at least the coin laundry is in the building so I don't have to load up the car with basketfuls of overflowing clothes. That's good news. Still, I have to be sure I have plenty of quarters on hand and sharing a washer and dryer means I also have to schedule my laundry time when I know that I can rotate loads the moment my personal timer goes off. Then I have to sneak out without the kids seeing me or they will follow me. Sometimes this isn't convenient. Nor is putting on shoes… or pants for that matter.
All that to say, it's not the ideal situation and we certainly aren't putting down any permanent roots, but I love having a place of our own. This is our home for now and it feels good to not be packing up and relocating again. Someday I won't have to worry about how loud we are, and the kids can run around outside while I do laundry barefoot in my pajamas. I dream about that day. But like Paul says in Philippians chapter 4;
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength.
This is not say that I am right up there with Paul, because first of all we are not going hungry. We are not living in the ghetto (see footnote), and we are blessed with so many unnecessary pleasures and amenities. On the other hand when I question what we are doing or why we are here I am reminded through this verse of where my strength comes from. I couldn't live through the rain or shine without Him.
*** I don't want to give the idea that we are living in government housing or a crack house. I've seen the movie Precious and we are a FAR cry from that environment, thank you Jesus. But, we're not in Kansas anymore either Toto. It's not the picket fence, pool/tennis community that we grew up with. The bus stop here is full of second hand smoke and broken homes. The tenants are mostly older people, and younger couples that I assume would fall in the all American working class society, but for the most part families don't live here. Most families live in houses, or duplexes, or bigger apartments with pools, even if they are section 8. The children that I've met that do live here have some sad stories. So that puts us in a different situation. One of which I have been grateful and asked God to open my heart and allow me to be a light, but in all honesty, I more often feel like a spy than a missionary. Lord help me to see the way you do.