A new lease on life

This morning I woke up in a new-to-us home. Yes, we moved yesterday from our house on Highland Avenue to a roomy townhouse only two and a half kilometers from our previous place. Our kids helped us get ready and settled at various stages of this significant move. A moving company transferred whatever we had not gotten rid of before that to our new abode. And so around 11 o’clock that evening Alice and I lay down on a mattress on the floor of our new bedroom, wondering what this first night would be like. Three of our adult children had helped us get settled that day.

For me the first night in our new home was a wonderful experience. I immediately fell asleep and woke up eight hours later. The sun was shining, and all was well with the world. I got dressed, opened the front door, and found our morning paper waiting for me, as if nothing in the world had changed. Later that day, Alice and I took care of several duties around town and ended up with one more task at our former house: pick up the very last personal belongings still waiting to be rescued from their lonely vigil in a super quiet and abandoned home.

We had lived in that house for 32 years, ever since I had accepted the call to be the editor of Calvinist Contact, now Christian Courier. But something changed recently that made our departure easier. Our neighbors to the south of us had temporarily abandoned their home in order to allow a construction company to tear down part of their house, gut the rest of the house and rebuild all of it on a large scale. Consequently for weeks our house endured the shocks of heavy equipment smashing thick walls, and then it eventually got overshadowed by the new structure that dwarfed our house. We no longer could enjoy the western view from our upstairs windows or from behind our house. We felt blocked in. Now, from the point of view of struggling saints, that could be a wholesome experience. But it did not work that way for us. We felt diminished.

That not so subtle change in our life influenced our decision whether we should move sooner than expected. We slowly began to look at the housing market, as I wrote about in April. In February we fell in love with a roomy townhouse and put an offer in immediately. We found out two days later that because it was still early in the season, we had been the only applicants and that our offer had been accepted. A few days later our real estate agent had listed our own house on the market and it sold in four days.

Nothing stays the same
And here we are, the grateful owners of a very comfortable and pleasant townhouse. All our five children have helped us get ready for this move at different dates since February. It will take several weeks now before we are almost settled in, although the ultimate finish line may be a year away. But the pressure is off and we feel richly blessed by our heavenly Father’s provision for us.

As I write this editorial, I can hear Alice busily loading the washing machine. Suddenly she warns me that it’s almost 10 o’clock and we should watch the evening news on television.

“Sorry, dear,” I answered. “The television set does not connect with any station.”

“Why not?” she asks.

“Because we are not yet hooked up.”

“Oh.” We both laughed. It’s one of those frequent moments of confusion in our new life. Everything is changing. We can’t locate several important items. We can’t remember what’s in all those boxes that have piled up all over our house. And what we used an hour ago is now lost again. “Where did I put it?”

I hope we can maintain the fairly relaxed attitude we have so far adopted. But I think I am prepared for a sudden outburst of frustration on either my part or hers. I know we are mature adults, but there’s a limit to our patience . . . I think. Dear Jesus, remind us of how we must seek first your kingdom, and not some television stations. And, by the way, Lord, thanks for showing us where our old house keys were – right where we left them four days ago – in the front hall of our former home!

  • Bert Witvoet is a former educator and editor of various magazines, including the Christian Courier, who lives with his wife, Alice, in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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