After the exhilaration of getting an offer on the house, we realized that we would be homeless for about 8 weeks. Many months ago a friend at church had offered her house to us free of charge just in case we found ourselves in this predicament. Although Jeff said I was looking a gift horse in the mouth, I wanted to explore other options. Our extravagantly generous friend, Henrietta, lives nearly 30 minutes from Nashville and I hoped that if we had a limited number of weeks in Nashville that we could be as close to our friends as possible.
So… I made calls to other Belmont-ers who have rental property and started looking at “For Rent” signs as I ran carpool in the afternoon. On one of these drives home I passed Glendale UMC, like I had every weekday for the whole year and remembered that they have a retreat house. With great anticipation I tracked down the cell phone number of the pastor, and fellow graduate from Vanderbilt Divinity School. When she answered and I told her who it was she said, “Oh, Kara! I’ve been reading about your family in the UM Reporter and have wanted to think of a way for Glendale to support you but I just haven’t had time to think about it.” Aha! “Well, Sandra,” I said, “I know just how you can do it.”
That Sunday the Glendale Trustees met to consider the matter and invited us to stay, for the cost of utilities and donation to their ministry of hospitality, in their beautiful, fully furnished retreat house. Unbelievable!
When I drove by a few days later after school, I pointed out the house to Carter- “That’s where we’re going to live!” He looked out the window and said, with more sarcasm than a 3-year-old should be able to muster, “That’s Malawi?!” He was not impressed! Malawi had certainly not lived up to all the hype. I explained that we would live there temporarily before we moved to Malawi. Since then he has referred to our new home as “the gray house” and it has stuck for all of us.
We moved in May 12. As we sat in the living room that night reading, Claire Marin said, “Mom, I think I like this size house better.” And I have to say, I agree with her. We are comfortable and close in the gray house. We haven’t missed the possessions that now fill a POD in some climate controlled storage unit. And there is still plenty of room to have friends over for dinner.
Claire Marin was able to walk to school the last few days. The “gardeners”, as Carter has dubbed the volunteers who nurture the community garden in our back yard, come often with all their kids. And we’re within walking distance of good friends. It’s an unforseen, exceptional and peaceful blessing!
I can’t thank Glendale UMC enough for providing this wonderful sanctuary for our family. What could have been a stressful two months could not be a more beautiful transition!