Faith in the moving.
BY TRACY ERLER
A 60-day notice to vacate greets us one afternoon after work, posted on the door of the home my husband and I have rented and loved for three years. The weekend I hit emotional rock bottom, we found a one-bedroom, overpriced apartment farther down the freeway. We made an appointment. Anthony skipped class to see it, and he paid a holding fee. We found a place to live.
Fall 2017-Spring 2018
Exploring the park across the street. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Walking our neighborhood. 10-minute drives to the bookstore and favorite coffee shop. We are minutes away from grocery stores, gas stations, Ant’s current job, the college, and then his career job. I’m putting down roots and growing attached.
A Monday in August. A renewal notice is posted on our door. I arrive home first and put it on the table without even looking at it. Ant looks at it when he gets home. He sees the rent increase and shows it to me. My heart sinks and the resistance sets in. Anthony says to me, “I need you to consider moving.” I don’t want to, but I start looking anyway. It’s a repeat of last October. Some apartment names and numbers the same, some different. Phone calls, questions, different dollar amounts. I just did all of this 10 months ago.
Hope is attached to a two-bedroom apartment centrally located in the town we want, back up the freeway closer to our people. It’s a downstairs unit with hookups for a stackable washer and dryer, less rent than what we’re paying now, and both cats are welcome. It’s my light at the end of the packed boxes tunnel. It looks perfect on paper, so I dream a little. I look up the price of a stackable washer and dryer. I start to say things like, “It will be nice not to carry laundry up 14 stairs.”
We put in our applications on a Tuesday.
Even though we make more than two-and-a-half times the rent, our credit scores are too low and we are denied. Welcome to being a financial peace-oriented family in California.
On our phone call during lunch, I dramatically declare to Anthony: “I’m done. You can look now.” I invested my heart and soul, dreams and future into this two-bedroom apartment. Not even missing a beat, he says, “I have a backup plan. I’ll text New Homeowner Friends.” Their house has a rental unit. He wants to formulate Plan B tonight right after Bible Study, but I am devastated and exhausted and I ask him to wait a couple of days.
This request is honored, and Anthony waits until the end of the week to officially pursue the studio. He asks all the questions and relays all the information to me. His reasons for moving: "We will pay off debt faster,” “We’ve lived in this area before and we loved it,” “Our rent will be supporting friends and our church family,” and “You’ll be closer to work” are a steady chant to all the emotional reasons I still hold onto.
Moving into the studio won’t be like our one-bedroom apartment. I’ve seen it a few times. It doesn’t have a full kitchen; the closet is a giant shed attached to the back. Our bed will be in the living space. It feels like a step backwards. My mind twists the memory and layout, leaving it darker and smaller.
But we’ve committed to this because it’s cheaper, supportive of friends, and most importantly, I trust my husband. The 30-day notice has been given. A move-in date is set.
We complete December’s budget meeting before moving, and I finally see the financial peace progress we’ll be making. The first piece clicks into place.
The studio is dubbed The Hobbit Hole. A second piece clicks into place.
A small group of family drives down the hill with trucks, Kias, and coffee to make Moving Day just as easy as the previous ones. I am amazed and humbled by their love and support. Also, we decided to put the mattress in the huge closet. Pieces three and four click into place.
We accomplish unpacking and decorating 16 days before Christmas. Click, a fifth piece is in place.
One week later:
I sit in our little pink rocking chair in the living room, Anthony still sleeping, and think, I can breathe here. The sixth and seemingly final piece clicks into place.
Moving two times in 14 months is hard, and it’s okay not to be okay with it. I boldly declared that I was done moving and just wanted to stay in the apartment. However, our initial thoughts and feelings and plans aren’t always the end result. Staying in the apartment was easy, safe, and didn’t require anymore packing but that’s not the step we chose for our family. I trust Anthony, the person I promised forever to.
What does trust look like for you in the midst of transitions and emotional, mental, and spiritual resistance? Do you have safe people who will listen to your worries and fears even while gently guiding you toward a logical, reasonable next step?