By Christina Capecchi
Some days life feels grey and predictable: moving in the same direction, making the same turns, waiting at the same lights. Dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, nothing good on TV.
Some days the notion of house swapping seems like just the ticket.
Which is why every day hundreds of people stuff messages in bottles and cast them into the cyber sea, hoping their homes will appeal to others far away because of the hot tub, the gas stove, the nearby golf course … or simply because of the novelty.
There’s something for everyone on house-swapping sites like HomeExchange.com and Craigslist.org — whether you’re trading for a weekend or a lifetime, moving in or out of the city, upsizing or downsizing, seeking sun or snow, pines or plains, East or West.
Some swaps are easy to understand. An Omaha, Neb., resident hopes for Honolulu. Charleston, W. Va., requests Istanbul, Turkey.
The incredible thing is that these desires go both ways. On one site 1,328 Italians are looking to leave. Alfombra, Costa Rica, asks for Allentown, Pa. Alta Gracia, Argentina, yearns for Boston.
Other bids are broader, “open to all offers” — whoever e-mails first, any city they’ve never seen, any name they can’t pronounce.
When you peek online, one picture will catch your eye and tickle your imagination as you take out the trash, teasing out some long-ago dream. Maybe you can write the Great American Novel under the Tuscan sun or take a cooking class in Paris or learn to salsa in Puerto Rico. Maybe you can get away, get a tan, get rich, get over him, get a life.
Maybe you can render the seemingly impossible possible with the swift click of a keystroke.
It’s a heady antidote to an economy that can easily depress, instilling a sense of limitation, of blocked avenues and restricted paths.
The beauty of our Christian faith is that it offers us a fresh start every day. There is no such thing as a dead end for believers, no rut that can’t be scaled, no sin that can’t be forgiven. Every muddied slate can be wiped blank.
We can leave bad jobs, bad relationships and bad decisions far, far behind with the saving power of our risen Lord. We are Easter people; we believe in the ultimate triumph of life over death. Old made new. Sin turned into grace. Darkness shattered by light.
The resurrection is not a one-time miracle. It’s a lifestyle, something we can experience every day, an ongoing adventure.
This year we remember St. Paul, the ultimate house swapper. He traded homes, names and religions. Friends and neighbors hardly recognized him. The man who had killed Christians was suddenly defending Christianity. He traveled through Asia Minor, sailed for Europe and preached in Philippi – a tireless apostle, a changed man.
I love how Pope Benedict XVI chronicles this conversion. “Dazzled by the divine light on the road to Damascus,” he wrote, “[Paul] did not hesitate to change sides to the Crucified One and followed him without second thoughts.”
It sounds like a resolute house swapper: a swift click and no second thoughts. We are each called to follow Christ with that alacrity and authority, to be decisive disciples like St. Paul. “How timely his example is today!” the pope wrote.
No matter how dark your days or sinful your ways, don’t despair. When you cling to Christ, you can make a swap.
(Christina Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Email her at email@example.com.)