About one month ago Leif and I moved into our new home. You may recall that, for the three months prior to that move, we were homeless. Kind and VERY patient relatives took us in, but yes, we were homeless. I knew it was a huge blessing to have the time to thoroughly research where we’d want to move and call home, but also wanted to not be a burden on family. My mission was to find a place within two weeks.
By the time the two weeks were up, we still weren’t sure where to go. I told myself (and Leif) we’d give it one more week – Bonus Week, as I called it – and then we’d just find whatever we could afford. It was during Bonus Week that God intervened.
On Sunday, we were at Fairfax Community Church for the very first time. The pastor, Pastor Rod, was speaking about some wonderful people helping their apartment communities during Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. He kept referring to some organization that helped apartment communities. It sounded cool, but also like something in Houston, Texas.
I promptly forgot about it.
Five days later, nearing the end of Bonus Week, we were having dinner with a childhood friend of Leif’s and his wife. Despite busy schedules for all of us, we managed to fit in a dinner that Friday. Halfway through the evening, Leif’s friend, Nick, asks where we’re living. We begrudgingly told them our shameful story of homelessness, though trying to put a positive spin on it. A beat later, Nick is telling us about – wouldn’t you know it – the same organization we had heard about on Sunday.
In cities across the U.S., the organization offers apartment communities a specially recruited couple that will invest their lives into the building in which they’ve been placed. They plan events, welcome new residents, and build friendships among neighbors. The couple serves as the bridge between property management and residents, hoping to improve the leasing experience for everyone involved. Honestly, it sounded too good to be true. Leif and I had been praying for an opportunity to go about intentional living in this new chapter of our lives, but since we were homeless, it wasn’t off to a great start. At all.
I started the application the next morning.
Within a day, we had an email telling us we’d moved through to the phone interview stage of the application process. Due to the process moving so quickly, I thought this might be an actual option for us! Unfortunately, while the phone interview went well and quickly, everything that followed met delays.
We waited weeks. Then we had a nearly three-hour interview with one individual. Within days they said that we were accepted by the organization, and that now we just had to wait for an apartment community to open up. Again, we waited weeks.
I was losing hope. Every time I’d be ready to throw in the towel, someone would email or call to let us know about some progress. Finally, three months after becoming homeless, we were told there was a property for us and that an interview with management was being arranged.
The interview was intense. We met with the owners, the vice-president of the company, and two property managers. Leif and I answered the questions as confidently as we could muster, and by the end of yet another three-hour interview, we were exhausted.
Generally speaking, I’m not into crying. I purposely avoid shows like This is Us in order not to cry. However, when I do cry, it’s because I’m completely depleted of mental and physical energy. So, even though the interview went positively and smoothly, I cried. I was just so exhausted. I was tired of not knowing when we would have a home. I was tired of days that started with leaving the house at 6:30 and not returning until 8:30. I was tired of what felt like just existing to get by.
Two days later, we were accepted by the property.
It was like I had been doused in ice water. We had a home. We didn’t have our move-in date and we didn’t even know what our apartment would look like. But it didn’t matter. We had a home. The next weekend we were able to move in. In just one day we managed to unload our entire life from our 10 x 5 storage locker and to move it all into our new place. We were exhausted, but happy.
In our plan to move to D.C., I never for a moment thought we would go nearly four months without a home. I never thought I would ask my relatives for that kind of generosity. I never thought adult Grace and Leif would ever be in a position where that would be necessary. (We do have money, I swear.)
The process was deeply humbling. Every time I wanted to bail and just sign a lease somewhere else, Leif would remind me how this had fallen into our laps. He would talk about the timing of it all, how it was a perfect fit for us. Yet, while we knew it was meant for us, we both agree it didn’t make the waiting easier.
But as I reflect on that time, I realize a lot of wonderful living happened during that waiting. I started and finished my first semester of graduate school. Leif and I met up with old friends and made brand new ones. We explored D.C. and found new favorite restaurants. We adopted kitties that look like cows. We kept on living.
I’ve written a lot of blog posts about waiting, changing jobs, and unsure futures (theme of my life?). I promise this isn’t another one of those. It’s just my reflection that these confusing and difficult times are reoccurring, no matter how much I think I’ve “learned”. I’m experiencing that life is one transition after another. It isn’t about the dramatic chaos that comes between the simple moments or the excitement of insta-worthy experiences; it’s about weaving them all together. It’s about living each moment intentionally, so no one period is looked back on as wasted time.
And so, here we are. The start of a new year, the start of a new city, the start of our new life. God’s plan unfolding. We’re very excited to begin this year by living intentionally.