My little Quail Creek home has been on the market for only three short weeks. Thanks to the help of our one-in-a-million seller’s agent, Virginia, it was emptied, cleaned, repainted, given a new bedroom carpet, and nicely staged with a potted plant, a table and two chairs. Oh, yes, my plain comfy rocking chair, hand-crafted by an Amish farmer was there too. It looked so inviting! Last Sunday there was an Open House.
“Now you have an assignment,” Virginia said to me and my family. “Pray!”
How did I pray? At first I asked just that question, how should I pray? Immediately the thought came, “Turn away from your own need and pray for the one who is looking for just this particular home. Now, that was a switch. I knew where the idea had first come to my mind. Back in 1953 my husband, myself, our two young sons, about seven and five, and our little shaggy dog found ourselves near Chicago in Glenview, Illinois where Wally had been sent to be the Commander of the Naval Air Station for the next two years.
Every time we’d moved, and that had been often, the problem of finding a home had seemed challenging, but this time it seemed impossible. First, it was wintertime, cold, wet, dark and totally inhospitable! The only motel in town was run down, untidy and gloomy. Around Glenview people owned their homes. There was nothing to rent except one country house that literally leaned to one side on its foundation. Inside the floors were covered with chipped and stained linoleum, the windows grimey and the woodwork,,,well, I could go on, but won’t. The place was the only one in our price range, $125. a month. (Remember, this was 1953.)
Sunday came along and we managed to get ourselves presentable enough to attend church and Sunday school. After the service a host of young people our age welcomed us. That was one plus. Another plus was that the sun had come out, the wind died down, and we could visit with our new friends outside without shivering.
Then a petite elderly white haired woman was introduced to us. “Where do you live,” she asked. I told her, “Well, actually, we’re still looking for a place to live.”
With merry blue eyes and a big smile her response was a cheery, “Oh, it’s looking for you!” She was so positive I thought her next words would give us an address, or at least a lead. But then I realized she was just stating the truth. Someone else soon caught her attention and we went to a local eatery and then back to the motel carrying a fat weekend Chicago newspaper. The comics would entertain the boys for a while.
As we passed by the office the attendant said, “You had a call while you were away. Here’s the number.”
Wally thanked him and then asked to borrow the phone. After hanging up he said, “That was the real estate man. He has something for us, but I warn you, it’s another country house.” Well, it would beat spending all day in the motel.
Again, the realtor did not accompany us but gave us the address. When we found the number on the mailbox I said, “This can’t be it. This place is beautiful, and it’s huge! It was, indeed, a large white house set far back from the road on a super wide lawn. A curving tree-lined driveway led up to it.
The next house was not quite so big. “Let’s stop here and see if these people can tell us anything,” I said. It turned out that this house was the home of the owner of the first and yes, the big house next door was for rent.
(I can see this blog is getting too long so here I’ll abbreviate and get to the end of my story.) The owner had built the big house by putting three houses together back during the war when building materials were hard to get. His wife had refused to live in it and he was willing to rent it to us and, without any bargaining on our part said, "$150. a month is the rent, but I don’t want to hear from you if anything goes wrong, You just treat the place as if it’s yours. There's a gang mower out in the garage you can use, but you mow the lawn, call the plumber, fix the furnace if it quits or whatever. Just pay me the rent.”
We lived there two years. Our baby girl was born in that house, and I have many fond memories of it. The real estate man, I suspect, had finagled the rent with the owner and we had only a few minor fix-it jobs. The little white haired lady became a good friend, and I’ve never forgotten what she said that day.
So, as I started to pray about my condo I didn’t start with a prayer that it would sell and my own needs would be met. I said, “Father, I know there must be someone looking for just such a place as this. They need a home and they’re looking for it, even now. You are guiding them, and they will be happy to find it. Thank You!”
So, last Sunday when we had the open house this couple walked in. “We’ve been looking for just a place like this for our daughter,” they said. "And we can pay you the full price with cash.”
My real estate friend and I went over the papers yesterday. The escrow is due to close on Valentine’s day. “I can’t thank you enough for all your work,” I told her. She said, “You’re welcome, but remember, you prayed, God answered, and we can all thank Him.” My mind went back to the little white-haired lady who knew just what to say so long ago. Home looks for us as we look for it, and prayer gets the looker and the looked-for together. Now isn't that neat?