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September 26, 2016 “Tiny House”


My husband and I are constantly amazed at the number of references we hear to
“tiny house” and “tiny house” movement.  We laugh and think back to our early life together—to our decision to be married while still attending a private liberal arts college and the financial picture that that decision painted for the two of us. 

            We were in love and happy, and our decision made perfect sense to us but not necessarily to our two sets of parents!  After all we were first-generation-to-go-to-college people, and our parents had great ambitions for us.  We were to graduate, get good jobs, make good salaries, buy nice houses, raise successful children and so on and so on.  They were dismayed that our decision to be married while still in college might sidetrack us, might take us off the path of education, good jobs, and all the rest.

            Despite our parents’ disapproval we found a way to make our situation work.  We found our own version of “tiny house.”  We called it a mobile home.  We took savings and bought the mobile home from a professor who was moving away.  Then our primary cost for housing was about $17 a month—the cost for water as well as for parking the mobile home.  Maybe in those early days we had something in common with “tiny house” kinds of people, although I’m sure there is a great deal of variety in motivations to what attracts people to “tiny houses.”

            Our modern culture has much of an accent placed upon “me” and “mine.”  “Tiny house” people may have some of that accent as well.  For instance, the motivation may be, “I want to avoid the stress and strain a huge mortgage places on me.”  “I want freedom to not be trapped in a job I hate simply because I have huge indebtedness.”  “I want to afford a certain lifestyle—travel, recreation, time with my friends—and having a “tiny house” helps me create that kind of lifestyle for myself.”

            Sometimes, however, the accent falls in other places.  Sometimes I hear someone comment, “Having a tiny house—having only what I need rather than what I might want—helps me to be free.   Without having a huge debt load, I can find ways of giving back to the world.  I can make a difference in the world around me.”

            True confession—we no longer live in the mobile home we bought in college.  True confession—we have a mortgage, and we are working hard to pay off indebtedness and prepare for retirement, but we understand that God calls us to place the emphasis in our lives not on money or acquiring things but on service to others.

 I will continue to marvel at the “tiny house” movement.  I will watch designers as they contemplate infinite use for allotted space.  I will applaud every effort at making “tiny house” aesthetically pleasing.  Most of all I will stand up and take notice as I hear testimony to the freedom “tiny houses” and debt-free living can provide for us to make a difference in our world! 



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