Monday, June 24, 2013

Default: Facebook or laundry?

So there are about 1,000,000 things that I need to be doing.

But we still don't have a house to move to.

Some days the situation terrifies me to the point of heart palpitations and stomach issues that send me running to the bathroom.  I shake and struggle to breathe.  People say, "It will all work out."  And yes, it will.  We might lose a lot of money and have all our dishes and furniture broken, but one way or another we are sure to land somewhere with something.

I do not find this particularly comforting.

This past weekend, Jonathan graduated.

They're all finished now.  Congratulations, Jonathan!

It was a big weekend full of houseguests and early graduation ceremonies...

(Jon fell asleep after he got his diploma).  

We went to a bunch of parties on Sunday after the houseguests left.  It was a big weekend.

This morning I need to get back into moving gear.  It would be so much easier to focus on packing if I knew where I was going.

I find myself perusing Facebook as though it could answer questions about my future.  Bah!  I suppose I am really looking for emails from our realtor, but when my inbox is empty, I default to Facebook.  This is sick.

Also, I'm hungry, but I just had my teeth cleaned at the dentist, so I don't want to mess them up and lose the smooth.

Laundry.  When all else fails, do laundry.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Walking by faith and not by sight

A lot of angst has filled my heart these last weeks, maybe months.

We sold the house we live in.  We've lived here for 18 years, and my kids grew up here.  Jonathan, the fourth, was born a month after we moved in, and his graduation party will be the last event we celebrate here before we leave.

We've decorated, remodeled the kitchen, upgraded the bathrooms, installed hardwood floors, finished the basement, built decks, installed a pool.  It is pretty much just how we like it now...

Except, right now it is full of boxes, and I've sold off most the basement furniture.

This is our home, where we live, eat, sleep, shower, laugh, cry, fight, pray, study, play games, read books, exercise, recover from illnesses, watch TV and wash clothes.  It's our dwelling place.

When we sold it, we received a closing date, the date by which the new owners will pay us and move in, the date by which we must be out.  Out of our home.

We started looking for another house, in a new town, 775 miles away.

We had a lot of trouble finding a house.  Online, we saw a few homes that looked nice, but they sold before we could get out to see them.  We made a trip and looked at 18 houses with a realtor one week.  We really liked one, but it also sold before we could make an offer.

We tried making an offer on a house that Shawn hated, a fairly small, conservative ranch with a nicely finished basement.  But they wanted crazy money for it and we couldn't reach a deal.

A second trip out to look at 11 more houses turned up another possibility: a remarkable Victorian that had been moved to a new basement on an acre lot in the country.  When we decided to make an offer on it, we called our realtor... and she told us that the owners had just accepted a different offer that very morning.

Frustrated, we regrouped again and made an offer on a house that was bigger, fancier and more expensive than what we had ever wanted.  It was in good shape, in a good location.  There was another offer out on it, a contingency offer.  The realtors told us, "Don't worry.  The other buyers haven't even put their house on the market yet.  They had a death in the family in another country, and they need to make a big trip.  They really just want a way to get out of their offer.  There's no way they'll get the house."  We negotiated with the seller, and the lawyer sent a registered letter to the other buyers, giving them 48 hours to match our offer or lose the house.  They matched our offer.  We lost the house.  In the meantime, the ranch sold, the one we'd negotiated for earlier.  We were pretty completely out of houses.

Many tears fell, many heartbeats pounded, many nights the weight of darkness pressed my breath away.  I prayed and I prayed and I prayed, and I felt as though God was simply hiding His face from me.  Mornings, I would wake and look at the eyelet curtains over my windows, the new oak floor beneath my bed, my familiar walls and the hallway to my bathroom... and I would cling to my mattress, trying to escape the thoughts, "You have to leave this place.  You have to leave this place."

I thought of Abraham.  "Go to the land I will show you," the Lord told him (Genesis 12:1).  Abraham did not know where he was going, and neither did I.

"Jesus, please intercede for me," I begged, "Because I can't pray anymore.  I don't know what to pray.  I don't have any words left.  Please intercede for me."  Fearful, I cried to the Lord, "Help Thou my unbelief," I pleaded, using the old KJV wording because I was helpless to come up with words of my own.

We were out of houses and we didn't have time to make another trip to look at more.  Finally, Shawn agreed to ask his sister and her husband (who live about 90 minutes from our new town) to meet our realtor and look at three more houses I had dug up online.  They were kind and generous enough to spend a day and a bunch of gas for us, and give us their remarks.  They were unable to get into one of the houses... no key could be found.  That left two, and they said the first one was a clear winner over the third one.

So we negotiated for it.  And got it.  We're waiting to hear about the home inspection now, but this could be the one.

We sang a song in church yesterday, and this phrase keeps coming back to me:  "We walk by faith and not by sight."  We walk by faith and not by sight.  To the place He will show us.  Help Thou my unbelief!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The perils of personality traits

The Myer-Briggs personality type indicator system is easy to understand in some respects, and difficult in others.

For instance, dichotomy #1 is very easy to understand: extroversion (E) vs. introversion (I).  You read that, and you just know what it means.  You can flesh it out and learn more about extroversion and introversion, but at its gut, this is a simple concept.

Likewise, dichotomy #3 is quite simple:  thinking (T) vs. feeling (F).  In other words, do your decisions stem more from facts or feelings?   Logic or emotion?  Sometimes it is difficult to discern in oneself whether one is acting in response to fact or feeling (I have, myself, seen some very scientific men who were oddly emotionally driven and would never have admitted it), but regardless of any difficulty in interpretation, the concept is fairly clear.

Dichotomy #2 is more difficult:  intuitive (N) vs. sensory (S), they say.  This is misleading right from the start.  For one thing, I think the word "intuitive" has connotations of the supernatural, but there is nothing supernatural about it in this context.  It simply means that you know it in your head, you work things out in your head first before you try to apply them (or delegate others to try them).  Sensory means that you discover through rubber-meets-the-road experience before you formulate a hypothesis in your head.  Often, people get confused after they start thinking through these designations, and they think that intuitive people are smart, and sensory people are not so smart.  However, S vs. N (or N vs. S) has nothing to do with intelligence, and people of any intelligence could exhibit either one.  Of course, an unintelligent N person would be very difficult to deal with and nearly impossible to teach, but that is getting off the main subject here.

The main difference between Ns and Ss is this:  An N works from the top down, getting a birds-eye view and then filling in the details afterwards.  I am an N.  This is why I hate GPS systems and love maps.  I need to see the whole route, and possible alternate routes, and then choose the best way.  An S person uses details to construct a whole, starting from the bottom and putting pieces together in a step-by-step process until the desired result is achieved.  S people do not mind a GPS.  They are patient and do not need to have all the answers, as long as they know the next step.  Elizabeth Elliott's advice, "Just do the next thing," is not problematic for an S.  An S may tend to be more trusting that following directions will eventually get him to where he wants to be.

Right now, I am really struggling with being an N, because I need to pack my house.  Being an N, all I can see is the HUGE, DAUNTING task ahead of me:  pack up everything in this house where you have lived for 18 years, and get ready to truck it halfway across the country.  Were I an S, I might be able to break this down into manageable steps, but being an N, I panic, and freeze, and end up writing a blog post instead of cleaning out a closet.

I like well defined tasks.  Cut up the cantaloupe.  I can do that.  Wash the dishes.  I can do that.  Make the bed.  Scrub the shower.  Walk the dog.  Sew the button on DJ's tux.  These things I can do, but it stresses me out to do them, because they are not, or do not seem to be, connected to the huge overpowering shadow of PACK THE HOUSE.  PACK THE HOUSE is not a well defined task.

A man we once knew, who had some significant trials in his life, used to say, "I'm eating my elephant one bite at a time."  I am having trouble finding the first place to stick my fork in.

Dichotomy #4 is similarly difficult:  judging (J) vs. perceiving (P).  This one stymies me, and I think, really, that they have used poor terminology to try to describe it.  At the end of the day, I think it comes down to whether you can make a decision or not.  A J person can make a decision, and be happy with it, and always feels best when things are settled.  A P person does not like to be limited by a decision and likes to keep all the options open as long as possible, usually regretting and second-guessing after a decision has been locked in.  I am a P, but not a straight up P who enjoys keeping the options open.  I am a P who feels constant guilt every single day of my life because I am not a J, because (in my mind) a J is the way a person ought to be.  But I am not.

Couple that with my N inability to break down the looming task before me, and you might have some idea of what I am going through right now.