I mighta mentioned this before, but I been trying to buy a house. The process started a couple-three months ago, when I started talking with Julie the mortgage lady about getting a loan – I knew what house I wanted. The original date for the closing was 3 June, but then it kept getting kicked down the road by one thing or another. The whole time, I thought I was causing all the problems with my shoddy record-keeping and haphazard financial behavior, but then Julie told me that she thought I was a great client and such a nice guy and she was sorry the underwriting agent was being such an asshole about the thing and I realized that somebody other than me was fucking shit up.
During the whole, long rigamarole, I just kept on being pretty much okay with it, mainly because I really didn’t know how the house-buying process was supposed to go. People kept acting like they thought I should be stressed out about it and I kept saying “Nah, it’ll all work out.” There were a couple times when I did get a little bothered about it, but then I’d just think about Bible verses that I was gonna paint on the wall and I’d feel a lot better about it. I wrote about that.
Last week, various agents involved sent me texts with lots of exclamation points – “We got approval!!!!!” – and I thought “Sure. I’ll believe it when it happens”. And then Julie was all like “Be at the lawyer’s office Tuesday and bring a certified cashier’s check” and I thought “Maybe this is happening”. The Tuesday in question was this past Tuesday and during the course of the actual closing on the house, the lawyer showed me many, many pieces of paper, including one that had a number on it which was the amount of money I have to pay every month until I die. I looked at that number and said “Huh. I thought the monthly payment was more than that.” And Julie explained that at the beginning of the process, the monthly payment was more than that, but that things had changed and been recalculated a few times during the month-and-a-half that everything was being held up and that I had ended up with a better rate and a lower payment.
So – it sure is tempting to think that God caused various things to hold up the process so that I could get the better rate. Or that the whole delay process was God’s way of determining how faithful I was and then when I didn’t flip out and start acting like an asshole, He decided to reward me with a lower monthly payment. I hear people do that kinda thing all the time – attribute pleasant weather to God’s benevolence or some such. And I always think “Yeh – but He also causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike, so ya gotta be grateful for that, too.” ‘Cause ya do. The Old Testament has a lotta lotta that kinda business, very explicitly stating that God tests people and then rewards or smites them as He chooses and I’ve never been totally on board with that because it just doesn’t seem like a Godly way to behave – it seems a little too human. I feel pretty sure that God acts in the Godliest way possible all the time and people interpret it the only human ways they know how, which includes concluding that any stroke of good fortune means that God is right pleased with them.
I can’t get down with that. As a Lutheran, I am convinced that the state of sin into which humans have fallen is a permanent one and that means me. I am a Sinny McSinsalot and I will never not be for as long as I inhabit this here meatcarriage. And I am also totally justified and sanctified by my meager faith, which ain’t much, but a little dab’ll do ya. So I do not have any sense that I am particularly high on the “good kids” list right now and therefore deserving of a special blessing in the form of a lower monthly mortgage payment. I think I was as decent and patient as I knew how to be during the time that the closing was delayed and it just kinda worked out that I got a better rate. Market changes or some shit. And I am totally grateful to God for the fact that I now have a house which I can call my own (even though it’s actually owned by the mortgage company who will sell it to a big corporate bank next month), but the way it makes sense to me is that God has changed me, in my character and my motivations, transforming me into the kind of person who has the courage to try to buy a house and the faith to continue to follow through on the process even though the process took a while. I really never expected to buy a house until this time last year, more or less, and from then it hasn’t been all that hard, really.
And when I was unpacking, I found all my old cd’s of inter-war gospel blues and shape-note singing and that shit is bangin’. Here’s another’n: