You are my hiding place; you will
protect me from trouble and surround
me with songs of deliverance.
Well it's that time of year again when one lease ends and another begins, and my thoughts turn to greener pastures.
Not only am I facing another increase to a rent I'm already having problems coming up with each month, but there has been a mass exodus from my apartment complex and the management is desperately trying to fill the empty apartments with an offer of a free plasma TV to anyone who moves in before the end of the month. Does this also mean they will relax their standards and we will wind up with troublesome tenants as in earlier days before the new administration stepped in and cleaned things up?
And then there is the matter of church, which has been an increasing source of frustration. It is a cold, cold place I attend but where I've never felt I belonged. Why do I stay? Because it is close to home and the teaching is sound. And yes, I have tried to make a difference by involving myself in various ministries and trying to reach out to others, but I am not seeing any fruits of those efforts.
My thoughts keep going back to an ad I saw for a church starting up 60 miles from here. It sounded so welcoming, and so warm, and I wished it were not that far away. Imagine my delighted surprise when on an impulsive check of www.rent.com, I saw an ad for a new apartment complex located close to that church, where the rents were half what mine are. It sounded too good to be true. I was so excited I couldn't fall asleep, and the next day being Sunday, I set out to visit the church and apartment.
Half a tank of gas and 165 miles later, I discovered that the grass is definitely NOT greener on the other side of the fence.
Yes, the folks at the church were very warm and welcoming, and as I entered the building, I thrilled to hear the choir practicing the old choruses I so miss. But when the worship started, I had to keep my eyes closed to keep from being distracted by all the chit-chat going on around me, and found myself missing the reverence in my church's sanctuary where people stand to sing, raise their hands in praise, and this sort of behavior would not be tolerated.
As for the apartments, it took me three hours to find them--despite my MapQuest directions--and when I finally got there, the complex was not at all what I expected. For starters, it was definitely not new, the rental units lacked most of the amenities I currently enjoy, one of the buildings had recently burned down and stood like a charred eyesore in the midst of the property, and a bunch of youth loitered under one of the stairwells, engaged in who knows what. In the end though, none of it mattered because there were income restrictions that I did not come close to qualifying for.
By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I regretted having missed communion at my church, and also the delicious London broil my daughter and son-in-law were cooking that I had been invited to share. The day had started out with such great hopes and expectations, and all kinds of plans already mapped out in my head. But along with the disappointment, I was also grateful that the Lord loved me enough to take me on this little adventure rather than zap me with a bolt of lightning for murmuring and complaining about my current circumstances.
I thought of all the times I have given up something in favor of something else I thought would be better, and then lived to regret what I no longer had. This time, by His mercy and grace, I had only given it up in my imagination run wild, and still have a second chance to stay where I am and view it from a different perspective.