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Home, sieged home

One of the things burning through a ton of our time and energy in the past month or so is recurring drama with our landlords. They've never been super stable in the nearly four years I've been here (including two "we're going to sell the house so you need to move out" false alarms), but on the whole, I would have just filed that under "quirky." We love the place and it's usually worth putting up with the occasional flakiness.

Recently, though, the weirdness has been cranked up to eleven, and it's really hard to deal with. They're in a frenzy in preparation to go to Panama at the end of June for an indefinite period (possibly years, but again, based on the track record, who can really say?), and that's bled over into a flurry of home maintenance/repair projects. None of these are actually on a schedule, though, so the net effect is irregular, sometimes huge disruptions of our home.

The biggest so far was Memorial Day weekend: they thought our walls were "sooty," so decided to have people come in and wash them with "special sponges" (i.e., Mr. Clean Magic Erasers®). We scheduled this for a Sunday, which was a struggle because they wouldn't commit to what time they'd finish. The process involved us moving everything off/away from all of the walls, as well as leaving access to the ceiling (no easy task in a 600 sq. ft. space). When we came back from church to check in, things looked much worse—no surprise considering the cleaning properties of the Magic Eraser and their effects on paint, etc. At that point, they suggested that they wanted to repaint the interior, immediately. After some haggling, barlow_girl and I made reservations at a hotel (at the landlords' expense—but I Pricelined it to try to go easy on them) through Tuesday. Not an ideal holiday weekend.

Tougher than the repairs/adjustments/whatever, however, has been trying to work well with them. Somehow, nearly everything they've chosen to do here has been turned around to be our fault—never mind the fact that the apartment interior hasn't been painted in over eight years, or that the landlord took over three months to address a leak in our hall closet, and so on. The desire to justify ourselves or simply to try to be understood has been huge and the whole deal has regularly left knots in both our stomachs. Our upstairs neighbors have had a tough time, too, but I think we've been tagged as "the bad tenants" for some reason, and there just doesn't seem to be a way out of that, rational or otherwise. I'll admit that I haven't responded well to some of it, and I've tried to be diligent with seeking forgiveness, but it's hard when we often seem to wind up in the same dysfunctional place where we began. It's exhausting.

So we keep telling ourselves that there's less than a month to go before our home is ours again. In the meantime, we have to cling to Jesus as our justifier and the one who secures justice for us—it's humbling to see how hard that is, even with something as small as this. Harder still, we're called to love when it feels like all we have to give is anger and hurt. Letting God shape us is painful stuff. Thankfully He's good, even when our circumstances don't seem to be.



Man your l/lords are sure ramping up the crazy points. Renting is supposed to be more economical because the expenses of repair and upkeep are someone else's responsibility but there comes a point when emotional strain starts outweighing the $$. I hope they leave you alone for a good while after they've got this out their system.
I was telling barlow_girl that the landlord's current work on the apartment is akin to George Lucas and Star Wars: he built it, people loved it, and then, further down the road, he decides to start mucking with it. They're all on the sidelines yelling, "Noooooo!" (see icon), but he says, "I'M GEORGE LUCAS!" and does whatever he wants with it, even when the results of the revisions look crappier to everyone outside of his artistic noggin.
*nods* That's profound man. Profound.
That really stinks. God truely is good, He is great in fact. We are tested over and over again in our faith. I have always known of God and was raised to believe in Him. However, just in the last few years have I really tried to apply the knowledge of my youth. You're right, letting God shape us is painful. What I try to keep remembering is that growth comes from pain.
It's a tough thing to remember. It's funny to think that we had some of the same lessons from youth (from some of the same teachers, no less!), but it takes the rest of life for them to sink in. It's a good thing God is patient.