The best decisions? What is the formula for tackling life’s biggest choices?
I sat in my car bawling like a six-year-old whose balloon had just flown away in the State Fair parking lot. However, I am 45 and I was yelling at my phone at a gas station. My phone, a phone that 10 years ago didn’t have the capacity to tell me where I was going or from whence I came, but now, I held fully culpable for doing so.
And it was failing me.
Or so I suspected.
So, I yelled.
Slowly and methodically I typed the address, again.
She refused to answer. “What is wrong with you?!?!?!” I typed the address into the box and hit search and the same result emerged: no match. I screamed some expletives and wiped sweat and tears from my cheeks. Here is where I will interject three things of value to you, my reader.
- At the time of this Google Maps search, I was in the greater Houston area where it is 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity, I was both hot and bothered.
- If you read my blog or know me, this is the part where I announce that after 25 years in the Abilene area we have moved to the Houston area, I will get to that in a minute.
- I wasn’t actually using the Google Maps app… I was unintentionally using the Amazon Prime App. It is a great app, but it can’t help you find your new house.
I closed and cursed “Google Maps” and that’s when I made the discovery and opened the right app and stored that app disaster away in my brain until now. I officially googled the new address, buzzed through McDonald’s (whatever, now is not the time for judgement) and got the tween and the vandals, our 3 and 5-year-old-sons something to occupy them for the last hour of the trek to our new home, loaded a Disney playlist onto the car blue tooth, adjusted my sunglasses and prepared to cry for 75.6 miles.
Our oldest daughter Maggie, who recently eloped with her new husband Christian, was an hour behind me in her pickup. Christian was in a 20-foot Uhaul about two hours behind her, close behind him would be Justin, my beloved, driving a 26-foot Uhaul, leaving the only county he’d basically ever lived in, except for the neighboring one, in college for 3.75 years.
And this move, this life altering trek had all transpired in 72 hours.
This Sunday morning, as my kids feasted on French fries and my belongings followed me in rented trailers was born of a decision on Thursday. Well, a finalized decision on Thursday morning. The days before that I had been at my parents’ home in Lake Conroe, outside of Houston. I had been enjoying their company, Justin had come down for a few days, and I started thinking.
Therein lies the issue.
I mentioned to my dad, “It’s not like we really see any of Justin’ family…”
And… “I have these scheduled speaking events, it would be nice to be closer to a major airport.”
“We spent the first 25-years in his neck of the woods…” When Justin came down a couple days later and I started dreamily telling him my thoughts and he started looking at moving his business, he got starry eyed too. The potential was boundless. Certainly, there would be a catch?
- Finish all his contracts.
- Sell our 640-ranch
- Move before school starts (in 10 days)
- Find somewhere to live (now)
- Launch my first book in the process…
Knowing we couldn’t buy a house that fast my dad flippantly mentioned a friend of his with a vacant property and we decided to let fate be the deciding factor. I returned home on Wednesday and Thursday morning Justin and I waited to see if we could move into this house. Our master plan? If the friend said yes to our use of the home we would move, if he said no, we would stay in Abilene another year and move the following summer. An hour later I texted Justin.
“Justin, we got the house.”
Perhaps as middle aged adults spin the bottle methodology of decision making isn’t the grandest design for choosing one’s life path. Justin went into full blown panic mode. Did I mention that the vacant property that we are talking about has been unoccupied for 12 years? Oh, and it is 9500 square feet? It has the character that oozes from it’s 1983 retro woodgrain paneled appliances. Every square inch of this masterpiece of a home echoes Come on Eileen and 847630Niiiiiiiiiine, which I begged Suddenlink to make the phone number. They refused.
It isn’t until you actually occupy 9500 square feet that you are fully cognizant of exactly how much space this actually is. With 8 bathrooms, wait, make that nine, I just found another one, Sam, our five-year-old is continually wetting his pants. There are just too many choices. He comes running to me and says, “I have to pee!” desperately holding his crotch. I yelp, “GO!” and he yells, “WHICH ONE!?!?!” and with too many choices, he rarely makes it. Furthermore, the house which is rumored haunted and majestically and creepily situated on the thirteenth green, yeah, 13th, there are often desperate golfers stuck in the sand trap near our pool. Back home, Sam would normally just pee off the porch, here this is discouraged by the HOA.
Although I have spent the majority of my married life a ranch wife, I actually have never had so much interaction with deer. I have a peeping deer. This herd of country club deer peep in the windows of the master suite and gawk at me, wondering why I moved in this house no one ever lived in. I can watch them for hours and I long for the days when Justin will finally be here full time.
In the meantime, Maggie and Christian have moved into what they like to call the “West Wing” and Sophie made the dance team at her new school. The vandals run laps through the “new house with da big wed doors.” And I wonder how decisions get made. I wonder why I think the things I think or choose the way I choose. I wonder what will happen when my book comes out, in 41 days, and people get mad or set free, and I am here in this mansion on the 13th green with a deer watching me blow dry my hair.
Who lives like this? You can’t really make this stuff up, so I hope and believe in some kind of order to these steps. And no, not like a choiceless, faceless, lifeless God who treats me like an action figure moving me around to His wicked fancy – but a God who gets a kick out of peeping baby deer and an extra $10 in the bottom of my purse. Granted, as the crew unloaded the last of my boxes I had a run in with a spider the size of my face and I did demand they put everything back on the truck because I was not staying in this place. After a glass of wine, maybe two, Justin talked me off the ledge. I did call an exterminator, unfortunately, they charge by the square foot and so we can’t ever, ever have one come here. I don’t know why God felt like spiders needed to get so big, maybe it was relational to the size of the houses people built?
And I have worried about Justin, a west texas home grown guy, but I knew I didn’t manipulate or contrive. I missed him last night at Sophie’s first event on the football field, where she was 100% Sophie. Having been here less than a week, you wouldn’t have noticed, she flowed like a creature who’d been here her whole life. As I recounted the day with him on the phone I got to tell him that during her performance the girl next to her passed out cold from the heat and Sophie didn’t miss a beat. We don’t know what to think about that, it’s just drill team, what is the etiquette of a man down? Keep dancing? Or show some freaking compassion? Oh, and, I met our neighbor who knows the whole history of this house and recalls the days when the original owner, a professional ball organization owner hosted parties here.
Black sedans would pull up with secret service men and both Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan partied here. The other neighbor reports Ronald and Nancy Reagan staying overnight on a couple occasions. While I don’t forsee us needing the wine cellars, butlers pantries, or swanky bars the vandals are having some rip roaring games of hide and seek.
There are closets upon closets, two laundry rooms, two kitchens, and a sauna. A sauna I have an interest in, if it weren’t for that run in with that spider. I may make my son in law test it out first. Needless to say, this decision, while it wasn’t taken lightly, was a huge leap of faith. This Sunday morning I am most grateful for this space, this place, this voice, and this new day. Last night I cried for what seem the hundredth time this week. Tears for hurt, joy, change, hope, confusion, and plain old grief… also, the air conditioner wasn’t working.
But, I am coming to the conclusion that one decision doesn’t make for one catastrophic and a whole change in overall happiness. I can move to a new location and live in a big beautiful home where the Reagans partied, but the pool still needs draining, I still miss my Marine-baby, my arms still ache for our foster love we lost two months ago, Justin still isn’t here, and the check book still needs balanced. A change in location or a change in hair color doesn’t change the pookie that still goes on in other aspects of my life.
I am only wholly free when I wholly believe in He who wholly loves me.
The decision to believe Him is my best decision. It is the only right decision. Others can think I am completely off my rocker, and I can tell you right now, no matter what, I stand by my decision to NEVER open that third drawer in the 6th bathroom EVER again, ever. But I believe Jesus. I believe He is for me and with me. I believe He will guide me and my family. I believe when we are wrong, except for the drawer, He will show us the right way. I believe He will never leave or forsake us.
Furthermore, when we are wrong, I believe it isn’t a harsh or awful lesson but more a reaping of what we have sown. Perhaps, when we are lacking it is simply because we have mismanaged or been careless and that is okay too. He will still be with us, He is altogether gentle, but He is also altogether Father and a good Father loves to see growth. He loves to see progress and change. He loves to see maturation and development. He loves to see us grow wings and become more than we knew, more than we were able to decide in the beginning.
The decision to believe this has been the greatest decision in my walk with Jesus.
I am free because of this.
If the move here ends up being a colossal burp in this game called life, Jesus is still Jesus.
His decision on the Cross makes all my decisions better. Now if you’ll excuse me… I need to help Sam pick a bathroom. Quick.
May your floors be sticky… and you have someone to mop them. Love, Jami
Isaiah 41:10 (NASB) “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”