I have a confession to make and can’t believe that I am doing so in such a public way. There’s another man in my life. Actually, he lives in the lot directly behind my house, so I get to see him quite often. His name is Joe. Trader Joe. Good Lord, people! Tell me you have made it to Trader Joe’s! When I say it is located behind my house, I mean it literally. As in if I could walk straight through my fence, I would be in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.
There’s a back story…there always is, isn’t there? We moved into our house 15 years ago and were ok with the fact (well, Wayne was) that our house backed up to a strip shopping center, because we loved the location and the neighborhood. However, it was such a jungle in our backyard that you couldn’t really see the building when we bought the house. Then again, I had three children under the age of five, so I wasn’t really paying attention like I should have been. That seems to be a trend with me.
The shopping center was about 2 stories tall and ran the length of our back fence – about 300 feet. Don’t ask me how it happened, but over time the jungle got thinner and thinner, so the building got visually thicker and thicker. I think Wayne secretly wanted to trim the jungle but never told me so. He probably snuck out in the middle of the night to use a machete that he had stashed away like a pirate’s rum bottle. So fast forward a few years and the shopping center was sold to a real estate developer. There were plans to tear it down and build a 26 story high-rise. This is when my panic set in. All I did was drive around town counting building floors to see if they were as high as the proposed high-rise behind us. I pictured a bunch of 20-something people partying the night away on the balconies and zip lining into our back yard. Boy, did I fret. Boy, did I drive my husband up one wall and down the next. We prayed that if God wanted us to move, He would make it clear. Let some other sap deal with a 26 story giant glaring in their backyard. Much to my chagrin, we didn’t get clear direction from God to move – darn it. Over time, it was clear that the units couldn’t be sold at the asking price, so they scrapped the whole deal. Praise the Lord! But what was going to go in its place?
They had already cleared the whole area, so we now just backed up to a 7 acre concrete parking lot. I think there must have been a sign on every single Houston street corner that said, “Dudes, if you are a skateboarder – go to the huge, empty concrete jungle behind the Wiesen’s house. That will make the Mrs. go crazy.” So they came. Lots of them. Skating, hopping, falling for hours on end behind us. I felt like Mrs. Kravitz from the sitcom Bewitched peering through the fence at the skaters. Daily. I think I got a splinter in my nose one time. It did me NO good to see what was going on…it only stressed me out more. Then we found out that Trader Joe’s had purchased half of the lot and an assisted living company had purchased the other half (and was supposed to be 6 stories tall). I was just relieved to know what it was going to be; however, I continued to drive around town counting buildings that were six stories tall. It got to the point that my kids didn’t want to ride in the car with me anymore. And to top it off, a portion of the wall came crashing through into our yard during construction (see photo on the left).
Do you see what the theme was in my life at this time? The unknown made me unnerved. I had not consciously surrendered to the fact that God knew what our future held as it related to that back lot. And not just the back lot. He holds the future to everything in our lives. I just sometimes forget that part. He had it all taken care of and I was just like a stupid little rat running around the maze and smashing my head into the wall. I didn’t realize that my fear, stress and worry was affecting my children. They thought mom had lost her marbles. Long story short (too late, I know), we love what is behind us now. The photo on the right is the same view as the photo on the left, just 3 1/2 years later. You can’t even see the Trader Joe’s building. How crazy is that? The mid rise is positioned perfectly away from us and the clumping bamboo we planted for privacy has grown so rapidly I thought it was out of Jack in the Beanstalk. It completely screens our view of the mid rise when we are in our backyard. If you ever need a privacy screen, bamboo is the way to go (see photo below). We can only see the mid rise when we drive up in our driveway. Thank goodness the Lord didn’t let us move when we thought it was going to be a 26 story monstrocity. We would have missed out on so much more good living in our house. I’m wondering if someone reading this has a 26 story something facing them? Is there a prospect of something major staring down at you and you don’t know how you’re going to deal with it? Don’t do what I did and just fret yourself to death. All I got out of it was more gray hair, annoyed family members and a few facial splinters. Do your best to surrender and just see what the Lord will do. Just as Charles Stanley always says, “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.” Just maybe He will replace what you are fearing with something beautiful.