It was January. Not exactly the best month of the year to move because winter was in full force.
Not only that, the year 2000 had arrived and everyone had been freaking out beforehand about Y2K, the term being used for the new year in a new millennium.
Concerns that Y2K would cause all kinds of computer havoc as the year changed, because many computer programs didn’t account for the date transition from 99 (as in 1999) to 00 (as in 2000), had been blasted over the airwaves for months.
Fear abounded that computers would be unable to operate as 2000 was ushered in and that would affect all kinds of major aspects of our modern life. People bought generators thinking we would have no power and stockpiled food, water, and other necessities. Some folks seemed to be completely panicked.
But Papa and I weren’t overly concerned. First of all, our faith in God assured us that no matter what happened, God would help us through. And secondly, our focus was on something more concrete – building our new home.
Fortunately, not much actually occurred because of Y2K. But for us, something more important did happen. We moved into our brand new house in January 2000.
Twenty years ago this month, we began living in this building we call home. For the 18 months prior to that, we endured a tumultuous journey as a family.
In late spring of 1998, we began that journey when we sold our home in the Pacific Northwest, purged some household goods, hired a moving company to transport furniture and other household items, and drove two cars with three kids all the way across the United States to my hometown.
We uprooted our kids, abandoned suburban life, and headed to the country where I grew up in Papa’s and my home state. My mother was ill – terminally, we discovered – and Papa’s elderly mother was also not in good health. It was time to live closer to family.
Papa had resigned from his sales job on the West Coast, but we looked forward to a promising interview scheduled just shortly after we arrived back in our home state in June 1998. The bottom fell out of that hope when Papa learned the company he had interviewed with had decided not to expand like they had planned, which resulted in no open position for him.
Our family of five moved in with my parents in my childhood home. For a few months, we lived on savings as Papa searched for a new job. Shortly after God provided that, Papa’s mother was hospitalized and we lost her. Another difficult life event.
Four months later, my own mother succumbed to that dreaded disease, cancer. Another devastating loss. We continued staying with my father to keep him company and because we were continuing a long search for our own place to live.
Originally, we had planned to build a home next door to my parents’ on some of their land (they owned four acres), but that plan fell through completely when we couldn’t obtain clearance for a septic system there. Those are the trials you encounter when living in rural areas, but that was yet another disappointment and set back.
Finally, after we had exhausted available real estate offerings, a family friend showed us a plot of ground owned by his relative. If the septic test would pass, we could purchase a 2.24 acre plot that was once a farmer’s field.
I remember the five of us – Papa, our three offspring, and me – standing on that plot of earth, holding hands while forming a circle, and praying over what would be the site of our new home. We asked God for His protection, His guidance, and for His peace to reign in the house which would be built there.
With excitement, ground was broken in August 1999 and we watched our house take shape.
Those five months flew by in a dizzying array of busyness. In between Papa traveling for his job and our teenagers’ schedules of school, sports, and activities, we made decisions on the house. We watched the year 2000 arrive without a glitch and prepared to move the few miles between my parents’ home and ours.
It felt like Christmas all over again as we moved our furniture out of storage and opened up boxes that had been packed 18 months prior.
Yet amidst the joy and excitement, the happiness of finally having our own home once again, I experienced feelings that I didn’t expect. The day before we would actually start living in our new home, we spent our last night sleeping in my parents’ home, my childhood home.
At bedtime, after biding my widowed father good night, I burst into tears. I was happy and thrilled to be blessed with a place to call our own once again, but leaving my father to live by himself, especially without my mother’s presence, wreaked havoc on my emotions.
And I was leaving that place I called “home” once more, a bittersweet moment.
Every January for the last 20 years, I’ve remembered those feelings and the difficulties we encountered on our journey to our home.
My father passed away over 10 years ago, and my childhood home was sold afterwards. The new owner has changed it significantly so that “home” as it was only exists in my memory now.
All that transpired during that time has made me realize something so very important. This place, this house that became my residence 20 years ago, this dwelling where Papa and I have lived longer than any other place we’ve resided, is just my earthly home. It wasn’t an easy path to acquire this home, but we managed only through God’s help.
Yet another home awaits me, the one Jesus has prepared for me and all others who believe in Him and call Him their Savior and Lord. I don’t know how much longer I’ll live in my earthly home, this house of mortar and wood, and what difficulties still lie ahead, but I know where my eternal home is. How about you?
“Why should you worry whether God wants you to reach the heavenly home by way of the desert or by the fields, when by the one as well as by the other one arrives all the same at a Blessed Eternity? Keep far from you excessive preoccupation which arises from the trials which the good God wishes to visit upon you.” ~ Pio of Pietrelcina