06 March 2013


We all probably know at least one person who sees every single thing that happens as a direct sign from God. Rain, sun, mud, unicorns. Whatever. Everything means something, and they have to act on it.

Most of us don't fly into a tizzy because Oh my goodness the used-car salesman's niece is joining a religious order how did he even know we're Catholic obviously we are supposed to buy this minivan! Unless, that is, you happen to attend our alma mater, where the ohmygoshhepraystherosaryeverydaytoo, we'remeanttobemarried! stereotype is unfortunately reinforced regularly.

But for the common mortal, not blessed/afflicted with the confidence that the earthworm they just flattened is a deep metaphysical symbol, how do we discern whether we are in fact getting a nudge from the Holy Spirit?

Matt and I have been discussing homeownership for a while now, but in abstract. Yes, we like the idea. Yes, we've seen some nice houses. No, we can't believe how expensive houses are. We haven't made any concrete moves, and while we are getting tired of seeing the rent money go out the window every month, we were fairly content to keep looking on a low-key level for another year or two while we saved up for a better down payment.

Today, our landlord called. Were we planning on renewing our lease in July? Because they want to put the house on the market.


Is the timing a coincidence? Some people would say there's no such thing. Is it a sign that we are supposed to start looking more seriously at buying a place? There's nothing preventing us from renting again... I don't know. I just don't know, and it's frustrating.

I don't want to play Gideon, saying, "Look, God, I know you gave me this huge sign of what you want me to do, but d'you think you could give me a sign that that sign meant what I thought it meant?" But I don't want to be all ohmygoshhepraystherosaryeverydaytoo either...

But really... how do you know?


  1. I think the biggest purpose of signs is to put your attention in the right place. If a sign gets your attention, then that's exactly what it's supposed to do. It's up to you to decide the best response to that sign.

    Discovering that someone prays the Rosary daily as well, for instance, is definitely a sign, but probably not a sign that merits the response of "get married". The response might be "contemplate accordingly and keep up the good work" or "encourage them" or "befriend them". That's an appropriate response to the sign.

    Here? I'd say that you've just been nudged to think seriously and concretely about home ownership. Doesn't mean that you have to go out and buy a home, but it's probably time to give it a good hard think, and maybe work out a plan.

  2. Ha, I loved your line about the earthworm! Oh Steubenville.

    I think, after a few years away from the (well-intentioned but probably overzealous) omg-everything-is-fraught-with-supernatural-meaning atmosphere, I've been realizing that...actually....God gave us Reason, and He wants us to use it. And sometimes that's even harder -- and takes more trust -- to do than looking for signs.

    I hear you with the housing dilemma, though!