Nomads without Camels
When we crammed all our stuff into mobile storage units at the end of April, we were excited about the adventure in front of us. In an attempt to save enough money to buy a house we decided to take a few months and move around housesitting for people–basically to be nomads without the camels. Michelle made lists of all the fun things we could do in the various cities and parts of Denver we’d call home (Colorado Springs (both north and central), Centennial, and Lakewood). From that vantage point it looked like a long family vacation (except I’d still be working of course).
In the months since then we have added Highlands Ranch, SE Denver, and another Colorado Springs stop to our initial list of expected locations. We are under contract on a house now and hope our wandering ways will soon come to an end. So with months of nomadic living in the books, there are a few things we’ve learned.
There are a lot of generous people out there.
It is amazing how freely people have welcomed us into their homes–sometimes while they’re gone and other times to live with them. The list of people who have opened their homes includes family and friends but also people we just met from our new church and complete strangers who we connected with online. The number of people who have offered to let us stay with them is at least twice the number we have needed.
It’s encouraging to see this outpouring of generosity. It has challenged us to continue thinking about the ways we can bless others by being generous with the things God has given us. It is also a reminder of the powerful safety net family and friends create. We lost a consistent place to live by choice, but this time has made it clear that even if we lost a consistent place to live against our will we would not be in a shelter or on the street. Not everyone is so blessed. I’m not even sure my takeaway from that observation, but it’s something I want to keep in mind as a follower of Jesus and pastor trying to help lead a community of faith to care for others.
Routine is important.
The first month of our nomadic adventure was fun. Like going on vacation the temporary loss of routine and established habits seemed relaxing and exciting. But as the weeks wore on the lack of routine wore on us. It became more and more difficult to find a rhythm that led us into connection with each other, God, friends, and neighbors (especially since the neighbors kept changing every couple weeks). Over time routine can seem, well, routine. But those daily and weekly rhythms of life are a tremendous asset. When they’re well thought out they can create growth and development in family life. We’re looking forward to having those routines back and being even more intentional about what they are than we have been in the past.
We have to hold our plans loosely.
The week after we moved out of our house we spent $2000 on vehicle repairs. The next month we spent $2400 on orthodontics. We had such an ingenious plan for saving money. It didn’t work out exactly as we planned. At the same time, we have paid for some big things without going into debt and are now in a position to buy a house like we hoped. Planning is a good thing, but seldom does everything turn out the way we think it will. We need to hold our plans loosely.
Gas is expensive.
I know, I know, everyone says it, but when you have to drive back and forth from Colorado Springs the cost is really driven home!