The realtor’s car flew along green fields and over rolling hills.  Seated in the back seat, a small and simple prayer formed in my mind.

Looking up and out the wide, flat glass of the windshield, I glimpsed a cherry-red Cardinal lifting off from a large puddle in the middle of the road.  The timing was impeccable, as if he’d been waiting there, staged to arise in answer to my prayer.   

“Hmm . . . ,” I thought to myself. 

Turning toward my husband who sat beside me, I caught sight of a single deer running through a golden field.

“Look,” I said and “hmmm . . . ,” I thought to myself.

Pulling into the driveway of the house we’d come to see, I kid you not, the sun that had been playing a day-long game of hide-and-seek shone down bright and clear right on us. 

“The sun came out,” I said to my husband with a smile as we unfolded ourselves, up and out of the car.

*   *   *

My husband’s text to a friend the night before read, “Kelly and I are sideways about a house.  Do you have time to talk?” 

When I saw it, I said, half-joking, “Sideways?  Head-to head is more like it.” 

There was one house that was a maybe. It fit our short list of needs and I was ready to settle because the alternative – the dark, dingy, over-priced rentals we’d toured, the leases that bound us financially for a year – were more than I could face.

Our good friend texted back, “Sure, how ’bout tonight?” and showed up at our door shortly after the kids were in bed.

He listened, this great hulk of a man sprawled on our living room floor, and we talked and by the time we were done some of the dense fog of fear and pain had lifted and my husband and I shifted from foes to allies again, sitting side-by-side even in the painful unknown.   

*   *   *

Our earliest dates took place in diners where we sat in sticky booths considering one another over endless cups of coffee.  Returning back to campus one night, we stood under the street-lights, eyes searching eyes and it bubbled out of him, “I just want to make you happy.”

That same boy turned man sat across from me at a diner the following day and I was able to see again the bond of love that spanned the table between us holding us in the booth; that cable that runs from heart to heart and forms a home for us and all the little loves we’ve spawned.   

“You’re right,” he said, as we ate, “I’ve been thinking about it all day long, I made a list of pros and cons and there are really only two things about that house that I don’t like. And two isn’t that many.”

Slowly, carefully, we each relinquished the claims we’d been holding in exchange for holding each other.  Finishing our meals, we slid into the low, red, Volkswagen and chugged our way over to the realtor’s office.

*   *   *

We walked through the house slowly, by ourselves.  Turning, talking, touching walls and switches, we tried that house on and turned slowly, each for the other, to see how it fit. 

Stepping onto the deck we heard loud and clear what we hadn’t heard the first time through, the unmistakable roar of route 81 that passed nearby just out of sight.  It was loud, undulating, unceasing noise.  Continuing through the house, the walls reverberated with the sound of passing trucks. 

As the clouds rolled in, low and heavy and the wind picked up, it seemed that all of heaven and earth rearranged itself to carry the highway’s sound to us.  It was the one thing we could both agree on, the noise of a nearby highway wasn’t something we were willing to embrace. 

*   *   *


I prayed that we would know and we did.  We knew, together, that it wasn’t the house for us.  But beyond that, we knew in all the little ways we could, that God was with us and that gave us the courage to walk away from what might have been an easy answer. 

That night our realtor offered us the key to a vacant rental he owned and suddenly, just like that, we had a place to live while we continued looking and waiting.  It wasn’t the answer we wanted, but it was an answer to prayer.  Sometimes, when we’re able to let go of whatever it is we want so badly, those unwanted answers can be enough, not because of what they “get” for us, but because of the way they remind us so clearly that God is with us. 

This post is linked with Playdates With God and #tellhisstory.

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