I have decided to do a “25 Random Things” series because I like learning about people and I like telling stories. This should be hard, my whole life is a random thing. My goal is to do one every day between now and Christmas Eve, and for every random thing, find a way that it points back to Christ. (Hello, Jesus Storybook Bible format.)
I lived in a toxic waste dump when I was young.
Yes, let it sink in like the waste sank into our ground and somehow contaminated the water.
When I was young, I can’t remember how young, my mother and I moved in with Gamma, my maternal grandmother. Maybe I was about 7 because my brother was there too. I still remember the address: 11606 South Arbor, Houston Texas 77089. It was a subdivision, pretty new, with a nice school just around the block, and our house had a back yard opposite a huge field. Every once in a while, men in weird space-suit looking outfits would come out and mess around with the ground, which concerned me because there were cows out there, and then leave.
You can read an alternate account here. I don’t know this person, and they had a few years on me, therefore a different perspective, but the same facts.
Because of the effect of the chemicals in the water, many children born and raised in the area had terrible defects, some died. I was very blessed. We moved in just before the news broke, and so ingested very little of the water, there were no negative effects on our health. We still lived in the house for a few years, until the settlement came and we were able to move somewhere else (clearly, you can’t sell your house in a neighborhood about to be closed off to humanity). My brother, 2 cousins, and I were all given rather generous annuities to be recieved on our birthdays ages 18-21, amount depending on years lived there. I still have dreams sometimes about walking around in what became, for the last year that we lived there, a ghost town. I can’t imagine what it looks like now, it’s been surrounded by a tall fence for years.
This one isn’t hard to bring back to Jesus. Though it was an odd time, it was by no means the great hardship for us that it was for many people. The biggest issues we had were that we had no neighbors, and relied on scores of gallon jugs, refilled at my uncle’s house from the water hose, to keep a supply of potable water. And at the time, wandering about a deserted neighborhood was, to my imagination, a great adventure.
But years later, when I was reminded about my annuities, I was in college, with a full scholarship, and no reason to need ten thousand dollars. I lent some to a friend who wanted to buy a drum set, and wondered what God would have me do with the rest. I had dreamt for years of owning a home- mostly because I’d never felt anything like “home,” and thought I’d just save it all and have a nice down payment for a house when I graduated college.
Then, a few months later, my mother almost died. For three years, I was able to help by paying for her hospital bills with money I wasn’t expecting and didn’t earn. From more than a decade back, God had used a potentially horrible experience to provide for a truly terrifying time. 4 months in hospice later, we had to scrape to pay bills, but we did not have to worry. My mother’s health was, eventually, returned to her, and our relationship is mended much based on the time we spent together while she was sick. The last year of my annuity went straight to a charity. By this time I was convinced it would do much more good in the hands of those who ministered to orphans than in a bank account waiting to be spent on something I didn’t know if God would call me to ever have.
When I graduated in 2008, My mom decided to pay me back, silly creature. I hadn’t earned that money! But she insisted, and so I traded in my 200K+ mile 97 Honda CRV and recieved, for free, from my mother, and brand new 2009 Nissan Versa. Plus $1,00o to pay, funnily enough, a hospital bill that I had. 🙂
In times like those, where perfect provision just happens, and years of something senseless suddenly makes sense, I am smacked in the face with the fact that I serve a God who has plans.