Living in Southern California, expecting your rent to go up each year is about as dependable as expecting it to be hot in August. There's always the chance you might be wrong, but nobody's going to bet against your being right.
Last week, I got my annual letter from the manager of my apartment building, informing me of the increases in maintenance costs, and that there must therefore be a comparable increase in the monthly rent.
Good news first: unlike last year, the increase in rent was not greater than the so-called "cost of living" increase I received in my own paycheck this year (which itself has never even kept up with inflation).
Bad news next: the increase comes a full month earlier in the year this time around, effectively negating any benefit gained by the comparatively smaller increase.
When I complain about realities such as these (which it seems I've done fairly often, but this one's still one of my favorites), a natural response would be "why don't you move to someplace where the cost of living is better?" Indeed, many people have asked me this very question, and I've arguably had the opportunity to do exactly that. It is difficult to explain to people who ask this question that there is a sense in which my wife and I need to be here, in this geographical area at this point in our lives. Despite the high cost of living, which I will continue to argue is unjust and uncalled for, there are opportunities to follow God's call upon our lives that we simply cannot take advantage of elsewhere. If we are to truly be the people that we believe God wants us to be, we need to stay here, at least for now.
But I still really hate this time of year....