Leslie asked me tonight, "Mom, what does "intense" mean?" I tried to explain it to her, then I asked why she wanted to know. "Well, the babysitter last night kept saying, "This is intense!""
I had a sermon-worthy about-face today that I thought I should share. As we were preparing to move, and then when we did and were meeting the new people in our neighborhood and ward, it seemed to me like the first question out of everyone's mouth was, "So, are you buying or renting?" I HATED answering that question because I've been a homeowner for eight years and (pridefully) have occasionally thought of renters as second-class citizens or something. So of course, I hate to admit that yes, I am living in a "Villa of Reduced Circumstances" for awhile until we recover from our own personal economic downturn that included a short sale of our dream home (one that I was also a little too proud of, so I guess it serves me right). Also, I felt like the new people we met were trying to gauge how much effort they should put into being our new friends. As in, "are you going to be here for long time, or are you going to ditch us in a few months?" The second week we were here, an older woman sitting behind us in church asked us the dreaded question and we answered it for what seemed like the umpteenth time. It was the straw that broke this camel's back. When we got home I railed and fumed and cried to Mark and then tried to laugh it off, threatening to him that I was going to compose a whole blog about it, about why don't people realize how rude and prying it might be to ask someone if they are renting or buying, kind of like you should never ever ask someone if they are pregnant. It never turns out well--as in, "were you raised in a barn?". He told me I'd better not because I sounded pretty bitter.
I am so glad today that I followed his advice. The bishop spoke today about never judging people, and he shared a few stories about how you never really know the intents of someone's heart. After church today I got a knock at the door. It was the older woman who had asked me the dreaded question a few weeks ago. She was bringing something by for Leslie, but I got to visit with her for a few minutes. It turns out she lives a few houses behind me. As we chatted about the horses in the pasture behind us, she asked me if they were ours and I said, no, the owner rented the pasture separately and subsequently discounted our rent. She timidly asked me what we were paying. I told her and she listened carefully, asking about the number of bedrooms, etc. Then she told me that she was worried about her future because she may end up placing her husband in some kind of long-term care and was hoping she could live in the basement apartment of their home and rent out the main house. She told me her plan for how she could afford the added expenses and how much she would need to make everything work, but much of her plan depends on how much she can rent her house out for. Which is why she asked me the dreaded question of course.
I felt like a heel, but was SO glad I got to visit with her, that she would share her problems with me, and that I was lucky enough to be able to haul out some more of my pride and replace it with love. I told her if she wanted any help figuring out what to do when the time came, I would be there for her.