“Some people feel their way into a good work and others work their way into a good feeling.”
Almost 12 years ago, I moved to a small community in southwest Arkansas that had been recently decimated by a tornado. We were concerned that housing would be an issue so we quickly bought a house that had a history with some “foundation issues”. Even that phrase sends chills up my spine these days. But 12 years ago, I was just learning a new life lesson that I am still working on today. It’s funny how wisdom comes on the backside of bad decisions.
The house we bought was a smaller home in a well-established neighborhood. All the homes around us were larger and more expensive (which is supposed to be good for property value). We had an engineer report that said that all the settling occurred in the past and even our home inspector said that everything looked ship shape. Little did we know that lurking under the ground was a problem looking for a place to happen. Almost $50,000 (which is a lot considering I bought the house for $72K) and a lot of frustration later we understand why people walk away from any disclosure that uses the phrase foundation and issue in the same sentence.
We loved that little house. We have a lot of great memories there. We lived there for 3 years before a job change moved me to a new community. We had it briefly on the market before I decided to try my hand at being a landlord, albeit a long-distance landlord (I will save my opinion about that for another post). At first it wasn’t too bad. Having a number of rent-paying tenants paying off my investment was pretty nice and I just had to come in and clean up in between. But, then I began to notice the settling. A little at first and then it was obvious that something was definitely wrong. By the time I realized what was going on we had experienced a severe case of “foundation issues”. And I realized that I was completely stuck with a problem that needed an Extreme Home Makeover. But, unfortunately there was no bus to move, Ty and the gaggle of volunteers were not coming and I was completely in charge of making it happen. Welcome to the real world!
I won’t bore you with all the details of our Home Makeover, but we hired a very reputable and expensive Foundation Repair Company who repaired our home’s foundation with a lifetime guarantee and 17- 8,000 PSI Cable Lock Plus Spiral Cylinders. Click Here if you want to see the video. We replaced all the appliances, painted the inside, replaced the carpet and still couldn’t sell it. We ran out of money before we were able to give the outside part of the house a face-life. So, even though it looked good on the inside and the foundation was sound it still looked like crap on the outside. We are finishing up a face-lift on the outside even as I write this and are hopeful that we will sell it this time around. Here is my finished product.
Let me tell you what I am learning. Life is a lot like fixing a house with foundation issues. Things don’t always work out easily. Sometimes, you have to keep grinding. There is no magic wand that just magically makes problems go away. You can pray all you want but you still have to sink 17 cylinders. You can wish you didn’t have “foundation issues” but somebody still has to write the check. You can run away from your problems or dump them on somebody else but they must be solved. The other things I deal with are much the same. My family issues must be addressed. My finances need to be managed. My health issues need to be monitored. My friendships need to be cultivated. My spiritual life needs to be nurtured. My professional life needs to be developed. I am responsible for making things happen. I am in charge. The days of being a child are over. I am the adult!
Let me go on the record and say that I am completely convinced that God sustained us and provided for us over this time period. Honestly, there is no way that we could have made it without His provision. At the same time, there is a foundational truth that we have learned through this: we must pray as if it all depends on Him and work as if it all depends on us. In other words, GRIND IT OUT IN PRAYER, GRIND IT OUT IN LABOR. Now all I need is a buyer!