I had the check ready. I filled out the application and turned it in. I was just waiting for an appointment to look at the place and tell the agent to cash it.

It seemed like the simplest thing — close to the high school so Elsa could play sports, a half-hour commute for Paul, and the ease of being close to all of the kids’ activities. It was within our price range, though at the top.

It wasn’t anything special. But it was nice. There was room for everyone and everything.

But … there were a few catches. That was Tuesday evening. Paul called. 

“I don’t think it’s right,” he said. “You said call if you have a change of heart. Well … here it is. I think this might be the change of heart.”

Basically, he doesn’t want to live in Prineville. He’s been saying so over and over.

I was a little put out. I spent a great deal of time searching for the place. And I followed Paul’s directions: get something that is close to everything.

But there was another catch besides Paul’s change of heart — a new obstacle that eliminates almost every rental in the area.  It required a year lease. Paul’s job is only guaranteed until March. We don’t want to be roped into something we can’t afford if his job doesn’t exist come spring.

We requested that the agent ask the owner if he’d be willing to rent for six months. We thought, “With the over-supply of foreclosed homes in the area, most people would be hungry for anyone to get into the house.”

Not so. There is also an over-supply of renters since so many people have lost their homes. And the people with money can afford to wait it seems. Most of the people who would have rented out their home to try and keep it have long since foreclosed or figured it out.

Our timing is … as usual… unusually bad for the pocket book.

I called all of the favorites on our list — the beautiful duplex in downtown Bend. They want a year lease. The little place with wood floors in Redmond. Yep, a year lease and it’s illegal to rent a two-bedroom to a family our size.

I moved further down the list. The carpeted and vinyled floors of other three-bedroom, two-bath places are all… year-long leases. And we’re under the gun. It’s time to turn Dave’s place back over to him. What is going to happen?

As we look toward Bend, the prices increase. I viewed one place that was $200-$300 over our budget. The garage door opened into the bathroom. I mean, seriously, the only way to walk in was through the bathroom. The first thing you saw was the toilet. Then, there was a strip of tile through the carpet of the living room. I believe they were tired of the wear and tear through that area and decided to tile just that part that people walked over. They tiled the stairs. Then, to top it off (no pun intended) — there was a balcony that looked onto the backyard, but no door to get to it. If people wanted to use the balcony, they would need to climb through one of the windows.

It’s disheartening. As of now, we’re no longer looking for a home, but trying to find shelter. Anywhere.

I visited a place within our price range outside of Prineville. Ten-minutes beyond it. It was a lovely, quiet place — meant for a family that enjoys the country and doesn’t have to go into town much. That was us ten years ago when the kids were little. It’s so not us right now.

My goal is to eliminate my driving so I can homeschool and write. Paul’s goal is to get out of Prineville. Elsa’s goal is to play sports in Prineville. Greta’s goal is to … well, Greta will be Greta wherever she is. Ingrid’s goal is to get her bike out of the shed. Dagne’s goal is to get her toys out of the shed.

There’s a frantic fear that keeps me awake all night and searching, searching, searching like the great eye of Sauron looking for the ring of power for that place that will be the Harris house for the next six months.

Sometimes, I want to pack everything up and go stay with my sister and tell Paul, “Call me when you found a place.”

I want the whole ordeal off my plate. I don’t care anymore about flooring or a gas stove or ugly or good bones of a house. I don’t care about a yard or a good neighborhood. The time has come to move, to settle.

Anywhere.

And always in the back of my mind, there is this nagging little voice that says, “You’re missing the whole point!”

And I can’t figure out what it is. What am I missing? How am I supposed to live? How should a day be filled? What is really important? What lasts and what doesn’t? How do I stay focused on what matters and ignore the myriad of fears and longings that don’t count at all?

I’ve been ignoring the kids for days as I pore over Craig’s lists and pictures of houses and call agencies on the cell phone. And to no avail. When I finally found “the spot,” it was wrong. It proves to me that I shouldn’t get caught up in panic, but do the work given to me. The answer will come when it comes. Why do I allow distractions? I must stay the course and do my calling. I must quit allowing outside issues to hijack my life. It reveals my lack of trust, my miniscule faith. It shows I don’t want to relinquish control. I’m afraid to. I hate fear. It is a leach upon all that is good. It robs the chance to love.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6

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