2. God has it all in control, and
3. Occasional suffering is good, forcing me further along the road to spiritual growth, and lastly
4. There is an enemy lurking in my head planting incredibly stupid lies.
First of all, we have never considered such a thing. We are completely settled in Mexico, and with very few exceptions, everything we own is right here under our roof. We live simply and we like it just fine. There are plenty of ministry opportunities to last a lifetime, so retirement has never been a serious option. Once upon a time we half-jokingly promised to die down here so we could keep things affordable and not be a burden on anyone in the States.
Retirement still is not something we consider. What made us think about buying a house is the reality that we are in fact needing to be in the US more often now – possibly every summer – to help care for aging parents, keep in better contact with our supporting churches, see our grown children, and provide stateside job experiences for our three teens before they transition to college and adult life.
With the housing market the way it is, we could conceivably take some inheritance/retirement funds and buy an affordable house or condo. That would remove the agony of finding a place to live each time we take a summer furlough. That would be the biggest blessing of all.
However it also opens all sorts of cans of worms. What kind of place? Where? Everything in me cries out for simplicity. (Read: small and easy to care for) The last thing I want is a big old empty house that needs to be filled and repaired and painted. (We have enough fix-it challenges in our house down here!)
Up until now I have only admired houses from afar. Pinterest has brought it closer to home, but honestly I have never coveted other people’s homes. I figure any discontent over where I live just encourages godly thinking; it makes me long for my heavenly home. Any suffering that makes me look heavenward is a good thing. I can handle a relative lack of beauty and convenience here on earth in this dry old desert home knowing that somehow I have a mansion in the future that is forever – and it will be filled with beauty that eludes me here on earth.
Now suddenly I am approached with a remote possibility of house-hunting, and all sorts of worldly ideas pop into my head. I don’t want just any affordable housing. I want a lovely Pinterestingly decorated place with a lovely garden that I never dreamed of having this side of heaven. Ack. Then I feel guilty for such shallow and selfish ambitions.
Years ago I remember reading that only three things touch the human soul: beauty, pain, and stories. Beauty can’t be a sinful pursuit, then, can it? Somehow through the years I have developed an unhealthy theology that says it is godlier to suffer than to be surrounded by beauty. It’s almost like I fear to be blessed in a material way, lest it draw my heart away from missions and back to the comforts of the U.S.
Any suggestions? How do I keep my eye on the finish line while simultaneously entertaining thoughts of buying into U.S. real estate? Can it be done?
IRL* My can of worms is a sweet dilemma.