There are times in life when you just know for a fact that someone far bigger than you is running the show. Life has been an amazing lately.
I went to a candlelight vigil for the boy who committed suicide after being bullied for months. 15 years old. It just broke my heart, truly. I know how my own girl struggled in school, and this boy's death made me cry. So I went to the candlelight vigil, not sure why, but I just felt it was important to be there.
When it was over, I blew my candle out and turned to walk back home. Surprisingly, standing behind me was a familiar face. Mr. M. was a favorite of mine when I was doing the mosquito work. I enjoyed his company, and I enjoyed his dog Misty. It was a shock to discover that his wife, Marie, is actually a relative of mine. 5 years later or so, when my sister and I were piecing together our family history for our children, Marie was an enormous help to us both.
"Oh my gosh, hey, how are the two of you doing?" and we fell to talking right away as if we'd seen each other day before yesterday instead of the year before. And we blabbed on. I heard Mr. M tell Marie that he needed to sit a minute, and he hobbled over to a stone to sit. And looking closely, I could tell that my old friend had declined since I'd last seen him.
Marie said, "...you know, we're going to wind up moving into the senior citizen place, and that's going to be awful. I've never lived in an apartment building before, but Jim's having such a hard time, and we've got to do something. He can't lift his leg over the side of the bathtub so well, and I hear him thump against the back of the tub wall, and I know in my heart we're going to have to sit down and make a decision here. But we've always lived out in the country."
I said, slowly, getting the first prickles of awareness that God was at work, "You know, what you need is one of those bathtubs with a door..." and Jim immediately said, "Ain't them nice? But I'll bet they are expensive. I would sure love to have me one of them, though."
My prickles got a little more pronounced. I knew that I should wait and talk to Tim, but it burst out of me. "We bought a house with one of these. That house is out in the country. It's a three bedroom ranch house. It's all on one floor."
Very cautiously, Jim rumbled, "Oh? Whereabouts?" and I explained. He said, "I don't want to live too far out. I worry about Marie driving in the winter." I said, "It's no more than three miles past the Country Fair," and I saw his face grow hopeful. "That would work."
That night, I was waiting when Tim got home from work. "I found who needs to be the Pleasant Township house," I announced. And he listened. We made a commitment to the person who sold us our last house. It was a commitment to pay it forward. It's hard to explain, and I can't really, the deal being a private arrangement, but we owe it to our friend to pay our good fortune forward. So I messaged Marie, and told her that we wanted the two of them to come look at our house.
I met with them tonight after I got off work, and we walked through the house, talking. They'd need the fusebox changed to breakers or their renter's insurance would refuse to cover them. Jim loved the knotty pine paneling and the cedar closet in one bedroom. I explained what our intentions were in the kitchen, and they were enthusiastic. Jim requested a gas stove, since he likes to cook. Marie told us not to bother replacing the dishwasher, that she was not a dishwasher-type. They loved the fireplace. There was a place for Jim to have a workshop. Marie picked out her office. They looked at the remodeled bathroom and they were pleased, and Jim opened and shut the door on the bathtub. The liked the ceramic tiles. They loved the big laundry room, and the two big storage rooms off to the side.
Jim went outside to walk around, and Marie confided that they had come the previous night and walked around it. She said that Jim had fallen well and truly in love with the house, but cautioned her not to get her hopes up. He was quite certain that they could not afford it. "It sure is beautiful, Mama, but I don't know..."
Marie said, "I told him, I've got a strong idea that God's at work here, and if He is, well, He'll make it possible. I'm not worried."
It made me happy, to watch Jim walking around the property looking like he already lived there. When we all convened one more time at our vehicles, Jim and Marie expressed concern for Tim. Their current landlord did not require a lease. They just needed to provide a 30 day notice to him. They did not want Tim to feel like he had to work like gangbusters to get this house put together in addition to his full time job. I said, "Well, Tim was worried about that too. He's not going to be able to get you in before winter hits," and Jim immediately said, "We moved in February the last time, in the middle of a blizzard and we are not doing that again." They were content to wait till spring.
When I got home, the phone was ringing, and it was Tim. I told him how it went. "That's fine," he said, "just perfect!" and I could tell that he was as happy as I was.
Still boggles my mind that a chance encounter would have has become a perfect solution for everyone, but I guess it shouldn't. When God's at work, it works for everyone involved.