We were young, that’s my excuse. I was 23 and Paul 26, but already we had done a lot of living in our time together--more than most youngsters of today would have done by then.
We had been married for almost four years, had immigrated to a new country, over 6,000 km away from home and were parents to a 3 and 1-year-old. We owned our own house--or at least two mortgages on the house and had settled down, or so I thought. Paul and I were barely scraping by, but we were making it on one salary, while I stayed home to care for our children.
It is at such times; I have come to understand, now that I am much older, that we should prepare for an adventure, for one is surely coming.
Paul had a long drive to work, down a highway known for danger in the winter. He felt that we should explore moving closer to his place of work. I was happy in our home--had overcome two years of homesickness and loved our little village in the country. I was not in favour of the proposed move, but I did believe that where he led I would follow, eventually. I also had a secret plan. I suggested to Paul that we should ensure that God agreed with our move by putting the house on the market for a price that was significantly more than we had bought it for, just over a year earlier--and more than any homes were currently selling for in the village. I was sure I could rest secure--we would not be moving.
Meanwhile, Paul, being unaware of the futility of the efforts he was putting into "the move," carried on. He arranged for us to look at houses for sale in the town where he wanted us to move, and one evening, after viewing a home in the dark that was in our price range, we put in an offer contingent on the sale of our house. I didn't pay too much attention to details; after all, I was sure we weren't moving.
It was classic. The adventure took off when the first couple who viewed our home bought it on the spot, without even questioning the price, or putting in a lower offer. That was 45 years ago, and I still remember their names! That was not the way my plan was supposed to unfold--but I had to admit that God had answered loud and clear and I needed to get with the program. So we signed away our home to Lorraine and William McBride and prepared to move into a house we had bought in the dark, without my paying too much attention. I discovered all too late that in the light I didn't like it. Things did not improve upon discovering the activities of some of our new neighbours. What had we done?
I can no longer remember what we paid for the house we didn't want, but our purchase of it was all part of a more excellent adventure that was unfolding. One day, a few months after we moved in, Paul came home from his job working with people with disabilities in an institutional setting. He said that there was a vacancy for house parents on a 2-acre property not far away. If we were successful applicants for the position, we would be caring for ten men with disabilities. That would be me, doing the caring, as Paul would continue his work at the institution, but he assured me that I would "just" be doing the cooking. That would be cooking for 14 daily--but I said, "Yes, let's do it!" You see, I couldn't wait to move out of that house we bought and didn't like, and the 2-acre property we'd be renting had such a feeling of peace.
We stayed there for almost ten years, during which the group grew to twelve men. It was my initiation and internship for working in the field of disabilities, which led to eventually working for a fantastic organisation for 32 years, and even having influence around philosophy and staff training.
I sometimes try to imagine what our life would have been if we had not bought the house we didn't want--when I was out-manoeuvred by God.