Ed Aponte Columnist
In May of this year I received a letter in the mail letting me know that the house I was currently renting had been sold and I needed to find a new place to live immediately. Two months previously I had created a plan with my men’s team to buy a house in a year. God’s plan for me however was a little bit different.
I remember listening to my best friend and teammate, Jeremy Leggett, reminding me to focus on the opportunity and not on the chaos of it.
It brings to mind another friend of mine, Jeff Lawrence, who has a tattoo on his right wrist that says, “What’s happening to me is happening for me.” I remember thinking that I just needed to find something that would accommodate my kid’s schools regardless of what the house looked like. It was OK to settle as long a I got the minimum requirement met. Again my team got me to slow down and think about the long term. Why should I settle just because I had an urgent need? Why not instead be clear about what I want and go after it until I get it?
My kids were the number one priority with this decision. I have two kids now in middle school and one still in elementary, and I did not want them to lose all their friends after we moved. So I went after it and truth be told I was not finding anything within the school cluster. The ones that I did find were in neighborhoods that did not make me all that excited.
I remember looking at the same small section of a map for days on end. I looked at all the houses within that sector and realized that none would do. As I was ready to give up a dot appeared on the map of a house who’s contract had fallen through due to the buyer’s financing at closing. I couldn’t believe it. It was in the right neighborhood and the right size for our family at the right price. I had done a whole lot of praying that I would find something that would be a great fit for me and my kids.
I remember opening the website when the house just happened to be put back on the market so I was the first to look at it and make an offer. Because all my financing was in order ahead of time, they took our offer even though there were much better ones.
I went through a divorce back in 2012. I stayed in my home then so as to minimize the impact on my kids. I wanted to limit the amount of change in their lives and hope to spare them additional pain. After a couple of years I sold my home and rented not too far away and stayed put for another three years. What I didn’t realize at the time and really until recently was that I had pressed the pause button on my life. Part of that was good because it created a space for me to heal. But the unhealthy part was the part that put my happiness on hold.
I had purposely delayed buying a home because I might meet someone, and what if they had a home already or wanted to move somewhere? So I thought it was probably better to wait until I met this person. The danger with that was that I was living in a future that might never happen and missing out on the happiness that I could experience in the present. Buying my new home has freed me.
For the first time in a long time I am happy just where I am, just as I am. Not waiting for the next thing but being present for all the blessings in my life.
I had Rosie, my kid’s mom, bring the kids to the new house to see it. They were so happy and ecstatic about the neighborhood and the house. We now live within walking distance to the middle school and the town square. I loved seeing the joy in their faces. We didn’t have to settle but instead be patient to get what we wanted.
The win however was not finding the home but instead having my mom and dad come check out my new place. They didn’t know anything that was going on about the rental home and that we had to move in a short time. All they knew was to show up at an address. We went to dinner to celebrate, and my mom was telling me about how proud she was that I did all this on my own.
I didn’t have the heart to correct her.
There aren’t many life decisions in my life that I do alone. When I find out that I no longer had a place to live … I called my men. When I needed a plan to move forward … I went to a men’s meeting. When I started to lose hope and focus … I called my men. These men have fought for me when I have been down and broken and have pushed me to a place where I can live a great life.
For the longest time I had waited to buy a house because I was waiting to get married. The consequence of this decision was that I felt that I needed x to get y and so there was a lack of fulfillment. Well, I’m choosing to wait no more because I’m great with the life I have right now and there’s no need to wait to live it.
This context shift came from my men.
I’m grateful my men have fought for me and my family. I’m grateful they have been there in good times but especially in bad times.
I didn’t do this on my own, and I’m proud of that.