“But you didn’t ask,” the man said to me.
I was on the phone at the time so I didn’t think he was talking to me.
He then tapped me on the shoulder repeating himself.
“But you didn’t ask.”
I looked at him and whispered, “I’ll be with you in a moment,” and turned my back to him.
I wrapped up my phone call and turning around to find out what he was talking about I discovered he was gone.
I sat for a moment trying to understand what part of my phone conversation with my friend caused this man to interrupt me.
“But you didn’t ask.”
There was nothing.
I looked around and even walked down through the shopping center to try to find him.
He was nowhere to be found.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I have had many strange things happen to me. So many that I have become accustomed to them happening.
I am like this voyager through life and people pop in and out, add to it and move on. On the street, in an elevator, at the market, even just in passing I hear their stories and share them with you.
Still, considering all of the changes I am going through right now, this weighed heavy on me.
Perhaps the man had problems. Maybe he just was out of line and I should think nothing of it.
My friend and I were talking about storage units. They are expensive and much too big for my needs.
Without getting into any details for now, I can tell you that I am selling my home as planned, but I have decided to remain in the local area for at least another year, maybe longer.
I have found a very small apartment that came to me at a crucial time. It was mentioned in passing and I grabbed it.
The timing was perfect.
It just so happens that over the course of the last month, I had contacted 10 to 12 real estate offices from Delaware, Maryland and Pensylvania and not one person responded to me. Not one.
I prayed to God, not for some inkling, nudge or “light bulb” moment. I asked Him for THE answer.
“Where should I go?” I was getting nothing in response.
Besides all of the personally overwhelming challenges I have been dealing with, the one most significant one was what would happen to my three dogs, Ricky, Lucy and Phil.
All of my research for pet friendly housing indicated only one dog per rental.
The thought of having to leave two of them or have them put to sleep because of their advanced age and physical problems tortured me. I spent many nights crying and begging God for that answer.
I was scheduled to meet with the landlord the next day.
The night before I had this very deep conversation with God.
“Don’t make me have to do it. When the time comes they deserve to spend their last breath with me, at home as a family. I have lost everything else. Don’t let me lose them.”
I lay quietly in bed looking down at Ricky and Phil in their beds. I ran the tape over and over of having to say goodbye.
Then I said, “Well, God it has come down to this.”
It was quiet.
Suddenly that man’s voice played out clearly in my darkened room.
“But you didn’t ask.”
It echoed several times as I tossed and turned and finally faded as I fell to sleep.
The next morning I called to tell the man I was on my way.
We talked and I immediately felt very comfortable with him.
We walked over to see the apartment and I was greatly disappointed. It was not at all what I hoped it to be. It reminds me of my grandfathers apartment in Pittston many years ago. Creaky old floors, a tiny stove, woodwork that needed painting, the old dryer was in the kitchen next to the stove and the washer was in a closet off of the living room.
I walked back downstairs to the owners office and we talked.
He’s incredibly nice and very understanding. We began to talk about dogs. He then mentioned that his dog’s name was Lucy.
I then sat up in my chair and began to talk about my three dogs.
I took a deep breath and asked, “I want to spend their final days together with the two older dogs. Would it be okay if I brought the three of them with me?”
There was a pause that seemed to last for hours.
“Sure. You seem like a nice guy. I know how they become a part of the family.”
“I didn’t think you’d permit it,” I said.
“But you didn’t ask,” he replied. There it was. That man’s words.
God stopped all the realtors from calling me. He sold my home, and connected me with a “not so perfect place” to live but a place where we can remain as a family.
I am selling my house, staying local and my kids are coming with me.
That’s God’s answer.