Saturday, November 11, 2006
For the second time in less than two weeks we have entered into an agreement for the sale of our home. This time, however, we have a signed contract and the deal is even better than the one that fell through. Thank you, all of you, (whether I can link to you or not) who remembered us in your prayers, especially in prayers to St. Joseph.
I love this house. I love the neighborhood and the neighbors. I love the sunroom and the woodstove; I love the built-in toy boxes in the playroom and built-in bookshelves in the livingroom. I love the memories we have made here and the babies we have brought home here. I love the yard and the woods behind. I love the New England color and style, the climbing roses, the blossoming cherry. I love this house. It wasn't easy to find and it won't be easy to leave.
No, it was not easy to find this house. On a single income in the bubbling North Eastern housing market we were pinched and stretched, but we needed a roof and for no small family. We had three small boys and were expecting a fourth. I assaulted St Joseph day and night with prayers and supplications. There were so many tears and disappointments, so many prayers and hardships, but our trust in St. Joseph led us here. I felt so loved when we finally found this house; I felt St. Joseph had taken such good care of us. He had made certain that our house would not be adequate only, but also lovely. It would be charming and welcoming, warm and homey.
Not long after we moved in, we met our neighbor across the street. I was happy to learn that his name was Joseph. Looking back now over the three short years we have lived here, I see what a "Joseph" he has been to us.
Like St. Joseph in his protection and kindness, our neighbor Joseph watched over our house while we were away on vacations and collected our mail; he offered me help, on more than one occasion, when the boys were sick and I was alone. At a recent tag sale he held, too, he sent the boys home with all they could hold and promised more if I would allow it.
Also like St. Joseph, the most tender of fathers, he enjoyed our boys completely. He would chat with them over the fence whenever he was out and invite them to "help" him in his yard chores. The boys loved him to excess and I often held them back with fear that they might become an annoyance. Looking back, I see that was a needless fear.
Lastly, like St. Joseph the carpenter, our dear Joseph loaned us his every tool and, in exchange for legal services from Jeremy, he repaired things around our house. The boys would hang around him whenever he came, asking him question after question as the littlest ones clung to his legs. There were many nights this past summer when we would be sitting at the dinner table while he was out working in our yard repairing or improving our property. (He always refused offers to join us.) He seemed tireless, despite his late middle age and despite the arthritis that caused his limp and weakened his hands. I am certain he has done more for us than we have ever done for him.
So today, when he popped in to see how the bathroom project was coming along and we shared the news of the contract we signed-- after the usual questions and answers and congratulations-- he stood quietly for a moment. Then he picked up and talked about tile, toilet wax seals, lead pipes, grout, levels and spacers. He's a wealth of knowledge about these things and the conversation rolled without lull.
Then suddenly he said, "So you guys are really moving, hu? Maybe I should go, too." He looked down at his hands. "I suppose you wouldn't consider leaving the children?" he joked.
"The boys will miss you." I said.
"It's nice of you to say that," he replied.
But they will.
And I will, too, good Joseph. I will too.