May 22, 2009

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Be not afraid ... amid the challenging economy

Debra TomaselliI didn’t expect to like this house so much.

It was a move, after all, prompted by financial needs, not desire.

Every other move my husband and I ever made was exciting, triggered by promotions and growth. We outgrew the townhouse we owned as newlyweds, graduated to a

four-bedroom house with a fenced yard when we had kids, and finally built a spacious home on a lake with an in-ground swimming pool, embracing 14 years of happy memories.

Here, we celebrated first Communions and confirmations, proms and graduations. Here, we held Brownie meetings and Bible studies, soccer parties and Kentucky Derby celebrations. The home was like a dear friend, but now we had to part with it.

The realtor sat down at our kitchen table, opened his briefcase and addressed the sluggish real estate sales.

“This market isn’t for the faint of heart,” he said.

As he pulled out charts, facts and figures, I turned my attention away, focusing on tunes of “Our God is an Awesome God.” Earlier, I had plugged in the CD, knowing we would need a little divine strength for this transaction.

And divine strength we received.

In the weeks that followed, my husband and I stood in the front yard and prayed that God would send just the right family to buy our house. And that prayer was answered.

We raised three daughters who attended Catholic schools. The family that bought our home has two daughters, both enrolled in Catholic school.

In the hectic days that followed, we searched nonstop for a new house. It was surprising how many homes looked OK until we really considered living there. One was too big, another too small. One needed too many repairs, another was priced too high.

Then, finally, at the insistence of a friend, my husband and I visited this house one Sunday after Mass. It didn’t stand out from the street, but we fell in love with it as soon as we stepped inside. French doors and expansive windows offered a breathtaking view of the backyard, which included a massive oak tree, a prayer bench and a tranquil canal.

We felt blessed. Not only did the house suit our financial needs and meet our space requirements, but the sacred setting was out-of-this-world.

One night after moving in, while eating our dinner on paper plates amid stacks of unpacked boxes and rolls of shelving paper, I looked at my husband.

“If we could move back to our old house tomorrow, I’d say, ‘Forget it, I like this house more,’ ” I said. “Do you feel the same way?”

Smiling, he nodded.

Neither one of us expected that. It was a move prompted strictly by the economy, one we didn’t want to have to make.

But I am convinced that the good Lord goes before us always, anticipating our every need. There is no reason to fear the changes in life, even if we think we do not want to make them.

Our God really is an awesome God.

(Debra Tomaselli lives in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Her column appears in several diocesan newspapers. Her e-mail address is †

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