Those are words from my last post.
Have you ever heard that you shouldn’t pray for patience because then suddenly your patience will be very tested?
I have to admit that if you had seen me at any random point this past weekend, you would’ve never thought that I was trying to be more grateful in life. If you were to look up complainer in the dictionary, I could almost guarantee that you’d see a picture of me and my ol’ grumpy, tired, stressed self.
On Thursday night, we noticed that there was a leak in the basement coming from our apartment’s plumbing. We live in an old 2-family house and, unfortunately, leaks and plumbing issues are a fairly common occurrence. Thus, they’ve been normalized. It means we have to rent the snake from Home Depot, put it through the drains, clear the clog, pack it up, bring the machine back, enjoy the use of our water.
I was told on Thursday night to not use the kitchen sink. On Friday, I was told to not touch any water in my home. (I have a small bladder and two kids with sticky hands. I need to use the water in my house. And you know how much I love my shower.) As annoyed as I was, I was happy that my husband would be home soon with the rented snake to go about business as usual and that we can then enjoy our pizza/movie Friday night with the boys.
That’s how long my amazing, determined, hardworking husband worked to get the snake to go through the drain. To no avail. It just kept getting stuck. He decided he would try again in the morning through the opening under the toilet.
The next morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast with homemade pancakes and fruit. Afterwards, I wished my husband good luck as he went to the upstairs toilet. I was convinced we would have the afternoon to enjoy ourselves.
I was so happy when he came down and said that all 75 feet went through and he was going to check for leaks. That is, until he noticed that all 75 feet were on the ground in the driveway.
Somehow, it had gone up the exhaust and over the roof until it spilled on the driveway.
We rolled our eyes and laughed as he started his work again.
For five hours.
But then, something happened!
One of the PVC pipes cracked. 😩 Which meant that our issue was not only in the clogged pipe, but also in the broken piece that my husband now had to fix on Sunday after church. On top of this, I was stressed and overwhelmed with the boys, being inside with them all day, and the dishes that were piling up in the sink that I couldn’t wash. I wanted the day to be done.
Eventually, nighttime came and we got up on Sunday and actually had a nice break from the reality at home. We even stayed extra late to avoid going back home and facing what was there.
But my husband had a plan to temporarily reroute the water so that we could run the shower and sink, but no solid waste was allowed. I found that to be very annoying, though I was grateful to use my own shower on Sunday night.
Two plumbers came on Monday. Plumber 1 insisted he could do nothing because, well, our whole plumbing system is messed up. Plumber 2 stayed longer, tried diagnosing the problem with a camera, but came to the same conclusion. Also, they cut open a coupling that completely undid what Roland did on Sunday.
To top all of this off, Ethan decided it would be fun to sleep like a newborn this weekend so I’ve been exhausted. And tired me = grumpy me.
So here we are, on Tuesday, and I’m still waiting for a conclusion to this story!
Now in all of this, there was one prayer in the back of my mind. It was one that I was too afraid to utter or even think because I wasn’t sure I would be happy with the answer.
“God, what are You trying to tell me?”
But I heard Him on Saturday night. He said to me,
Just the other day, I taught you about having the thankful heart of a child. I showed you what it was to unashamedly thank Me for even the smallest things in your life that often go unnoticed. If I took one of those things away from you — the ability to use the running water in your house with little discretion — what would you do? Would you complain about what you now lack? Or would you still be thankful for the things that you do have? What if you were to lose everything, like Job did. What would you be thankful for?
The words of the Bethel song played in the background. “We thank you for the cross.”
In this old 2-family-house, we live in one apartment and my parents live in the other. So every time I couldn’t use my own toilet or shower, I was able to use my parents’. I was still able to use their washing machine which meant I didn’t miss a beat with keeping up with laundry. As much as this old house drives me crazy with all of its issues, I have a really good deal living here. And my husband, the amazing man he is, was able to take over inside the house for twenty minutes when I was overwhelmed on Saturday so I could get the boys down and simply have to worry about the dishes (which I could do next door) all while he had work of his own to do.
In all these things, I am so blessed and fortunate. In all of these, there are reasons to be grateful. Because even when I am frustrated by what I temporarily lack, there is so much that I still have.
But even if all of that got stripped away too, there would always be the Cross. I pray that I will one day learn to be content in that alone.