The plumber is coming today...and that... is a really good thing. It's an answer to prayer for sure. You see, for months now, I've had issues with the pipe leading out of the tub in my bathroom. At first, it drained slowly, so I did everything I knew how to do to get things moving. I bought a 'zip it' tool to try to pull out the clog. Nothing. I poured Drano down the pipes to dissolve it. No change. I bought a snake and tried to clear the clog. It got stuck on a metal 'crossbeam' over the drain complicating matters. I won the tug of war to get the snake out, but nothing more. A friend's husband came over and tried to plunge it. Nada. I even tried someone's home remedy of "baking soda followed by vinegar, followed by boiling water...and plenty of it." Nope. Eventually, the water stopped draining altogether. That meant that if I took a shower, I had to bail the water out of the tub and into the sink. On top of everything else, the pipe apparently leaks, because it's been causing damage to the wall and ceiling in my dining room for quite some time. Awesome.
At some point, I broke down, called my ex, and asked him to take a look. This did NOT help matters. He looked, found the piece of pipe with a crack in it and removed it, then said it probably required a plumber to replace it. Brilliant. Now not only was the pipe still clogged - beyond the piece he removed - but I could no longer shower and bail because a piece of pipe was missing.
Now you may wonder why I waited so long to call a plumber. Money, or should I say the lack thereof, was one of the issues. I kept thinking that there was an easy, inexpensive way to get past the problem. But there wasn't. In addition, I live in an old house and there is a lot that needs fixing. Before the 'total clog' made the tub of primary importance, I was stressing over which issue to fix first - and of course, how to pay for any of it. That's when I went to my 'mountain of God'.
"Mountain of God" is the name I've given a long, climbing driveway that leads to a church next to my job. When I'm having a bad day, need to clear my head, or need to pray during the day, I go to the mountain. So a few months back, I took my confusion and frustration over all that was overwhelming me with the house and brought it before the throne on the mountaintop. By the time I was done praying, I was clear about what to do first...take care of the plumbing - and call a specific rep that I work with to arrange it. I called that rep and a plumber was contacted. The fact that it seems the whole of this huge (we're talking thousands) job is being done without cost to me beyond some materials like wood, tile and sheet rock is nothing short of miraculous. The praying that went on over those negotiations is stuff for another blog.
Back to that plumber though...his assistant arrived on June 22nd to check things out...and yes, today is August 3rd and at the start of this post I said the plumber is coming today...finally. Let's just say that during these past 6 weeks - which have sported the hottest temps on record for New Jersey - those who work with me or come in any kind of contact with me, are really grateful I can go to the gym and shower without fear of drainage issues. Actually, that's another upside to this story. After a year of struggling to go to the gym with any consistency, this 'crisis' has caused me to go pretty much daily.
Now that the plumber has been called in, the extent of the damage is clear. It's going to take a few days to fix. What might have been a relatively inexpensive job will run thousands because of a long period of neglect. I saw evidence of water damage some time ago, but didn't have the wherewithal to address it. It wasn't until the problem backed up into the pipe on the surface and I was forced to deal with it that I took action. And now there are consequences.
Reminds me of the way we are sometimes with turning our problems over to God. We try and try to work things out on our own. Everything in our feeble human arsenal is pulled out to deal with the issue which, left 'unprayed' over, gets bigger, more serious and ultimately more costly until we finally call in the Expert.
Sometimes we think problems are too small to bring to God...we'll just use a "zip it" or some Drano and, no big deal, it'll go away, problem solved, no God interaction needed. Wrong.
Then when things look like they're getting away from us, we start turning to others to take a plunger to the situation - 'pray for me' we say...not a bad thing in itself, we are supposed to support each other in prayer and I ask for prayer often. But asking others to pray over a situation you haven't brought to God yourself isn't strengthening your faith. God is certainly able to act on the prayers of others, but usually there's a lesson in bringing things to Him that we'll only learn when that dialog is one on one. We've all got a direct line and God wants to hear from us.
Finally, when the damage is obvious, when it has risen to the surface and has become abundantly clear that only God can fix the problem and clean up the mess, we bring it to Him. By then, it may have become so widespread that reconstruction is necessary. Stuff has to be taken out of our lives to get to the heart of the problem...and rebuilding needs to occur.
I'm grateful that God is merciful enough and big enough to fix the problems, but how much easier would my life be if rather than ignore, or wait, or fret about what I can't do on my own, I went straight to Him every time? And how much smoother would my life run if I didn't have to deal with the fallout and consequences of that delay in going to God?
It's great that a consistent trip to the gym came out of this trial, but I don't want to make consistency in prayer a result of crisis. And I'm getting better at that, making prayer a first defense instead of a last resort. But every once in awhile, I slip into old habits and reach for the Drano.
Yes, the plumber is coming today...and that, is a very good thing.