My cell phone dings indicating another text message. I ignore it, trying to honor my commitment not to act like a Pavlov’s Dog at any sound it makes. “Another showing at 4 pm,” Rich shouts from another room. I sigh as a warm feeling rises from my chest, hoping, wanting this to be the family that would next call our house their home.
We pick up any evidence that anyone lives here, stashing wet sponges and recently opened mail-in drawers and cabinets out of sight. I run into the garden, cutting some fresh flowers to refresh the many vases I’ve strategically placed, and grab the fresh fruit to place nonchalantly in the trendy Mackenzie Childs checkered bowl on the counter.
Our home had been on the market for over 40 days – not that I was counting (ha!). While we knew our unique slice of heaven wouldn’t be for everyone, with stories of friends selling their homes in days with bidding wars swirling in our heads, it hurt that this hadn’t happened for us.
Five days later, my cell phone dings again. Another showing. My glimmer of hope flickering weakened with each family that didn’t choose our home.
I had felt this feeling before. Thirty-four years ago, as newlyweds, we had eagerly snagged a dilapidated old Victorian house nestled in an overgrown wooded lot that we knew was our home even before we set foot in it.
Eight months later, we were living in our “new” home in the dead of winter – no kitchen to speak of and little heat – unable to afford the home improvements we had envisioned because we were still carrying the financial and emotional burden of two mortgages as our Boston home that had not sold.
Eight long months. Multiple showings. Lowering our price. No offers. Unfortunately, we were trying to sell in the thick of the major Boston housing downturn where there were more houses than buyers.
My Catholic mother-in-law suggested we pray to St. Joseph for help during this time. Saint Joseph – yes – The Joseph who married Mary, the Mother of Jesus. He was a regular working guy and a carpenter, which perhaps later qualified him as the patron saint of the home and, by default, all things real estate. With faith in her heart, my mother-in-law gave us a ceramic statue of Joseph and told us to bury him at our Boston home. “That’s all you need to do,” she assured us.
While we were not devoted, we were desperate. A few weeks later, on a blustery cold winter day, Rich and I – and Saint Joseph – drove the six hours to our cold and sad-looking empty home on the North Shore of Boston to dutifully follow her instructions to engage Saint Joseph to sell our home. After much effort digging a hole in the frozen ground big enough to cover him comfortably, we returned to the car and drove home.
Less than a week later, we had an accepted offer.
Decades later, we are trying to sell the Victorian home we moved into while attempting to sell that Boston property. After 52 days on the market, Rich walks into my office and hands me a package that had just arrived. I open it and smile at its contents.
A few minutes later, we are digging a hole, citing prayers and hopeful.
Less than 48 hours after numerous dings on our cell phones, we had a bidding war for our home.
Thank you, Saint Joseph.