I was the first one to get to the park.

“Hey Tim, just pull into the lot on the right-hand side. The one with all the palm trees.” I stood up, trying to see Tim’s white car. I waved as they approached. “See me? Okay.” I hung up and sat back down to wait for them.

Nicole and Ten piled out, along with Tim. They came over to where I was basking under a palm tree and plopped down.

“So what’s the latest?” I asked.

“Well, the owners decided not to take our offer on Highgate,” Tim answered succinctly.

“Oh no! That’s such a bummer,” I said, genuinely upset that the deal hadn’t gone down. The house had been perfect in so many ways. “Do you know who they gave it to?”

“It seems the owner had a grandfather in Mexico that is hopefully coming to the States soon. So he needed a place for him and his girlfriend?” Tim replied, his voice rising at the end.

Apparently it was not meant to be.

I looked at Ten and asked, “So what’s on for the afternoon?”

“Patricia said she was trying to line up a few houses for us to look at. We’re waiting to see when we can get into one of them.”

Patricia was a realtor who had taken a liking to Ten and Tim and our rather unique quest for a house. She was determined to find a place for the six of us. I still had yet to meet this person (who was supposedly helping us of her own freewill) and I was rather skeptical.

“Sooo we don’t have any places to see for sure today?” I had driven forty-five minutes out to this park to meet up with them. Surely there was something we could do.

Just then, Meghan pulled up. We all waved hello from our spot under the palm tree and she bounced over to us. The guys filled her in on the latest.

After a few minutes of random chatter, Meghan addressed us a little more seriously. “Hey, ya’ll. I just wanted to let you know that my mom has expressed some concerns about me living in a house with boys. I’m not totally sure where this is coming from, yet, but I didn’t want to drop out of the group without giving you some fair warning.”

Oh dear. This would definitely change things. We’d been looking at houses that would fit the needs of all six of us. Now that there might only be five, the details would be completely up in the air.

That’s the thing about having “plans”, though. Our most definite plans can be turned completely upside down in the blink of an eye. It is such a blessing that God knows everything long before we do. It’s just more satisfying to believe that we live inside of His will than that we are simply left to the winds of chance.

We spent a good long while in the park. It felt wonderful just to relax and be all together in the same place.

It was a while before we realized that we would probably not see any houses that afternoon. And it wasn’t long after that until we started to hear growling stomachs.

“Alright. How about we go somewhere for dinner?” The suggestion was readily accepted. The only question was: where?

“Well, Tim and I have still not had In-N-Out Burger…” Ten commented.

We made it to In-N-Out in fifteen minutes. I made a detour to pick up our other Wheaton friend, Jimi, and hurried to meet the others. I didn’t want to miss Tim and Ten’s reaction to their first bite of an “animal-style double-double”.

If you have never experienced the pleasure of a meal at In-N-Out Burger, I am terribly sorry for you. It is simply a whole other level of fast food. The burgers are loaded with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and “special sauce”. The fries are always fresh (you can watch them slice the potatoes behind the counter). And the milkshakes are dee-lish.

And then there’s the “secret menu”. Can you guess what a black and white is? Or animal-style fries? They’re both worth taking a chance on.

Ten munched happily on his meal, while Tim just shook his head after his first bite. “It’s just a burger. I don’t really think it’s worth all the hype, ya’ll.”

We haven’t let him live that comment down. “It’s just a burger” has now become a catchphrase in our California memories bank.

And so another day passes. We are happy, even though we were homeless. We remain joyful, even though we are jobless. I’m sure the pressure will catch up to us eventually, but for now we are trying to relish every single second of our post-college experience. I was reading through part of Ecclesiastes this afternoon and came across this passage:

Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.

You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you into judgment.
10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless.

It was such a good reminder to me. There is a fine balance that must be struck between having fun and having a meaningful perspective on life. I want to soak up the California sun and embrace my freedom and youth, but I must constantly be aware that these are the fleeting things. Hard times will come, pressures will be added, there will be tension and strife and difficulty. But God is above all these things. God is not fleeting; His plans are eternal. So, whatever tomorrow brings, be it a house or another surprise adventure, I know that I can trust in the Lord and in the powerful plans He has in store for us here in LA!

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