Ethiopia, April 2010
photography by Anthony
I was thinking I should sell my house today. It was raining pretty hard and one of the gutters was overflowing. It was cold and wet outside and I thought... if only I sold this house and had another... then I wouldn't have this problem. I wouldn't have to see or deal with this overflowing gutter.
I wasn't positive that was the solution, so I asked Anthony about it... hoping he would fix it for me. He couldn't take the time to fix it for me because he was working. He thought perhaps their was a blockage at the drainspout. He gave me some great advice... find the downspout and clear out the blockage. But it was cold and wet... and even hailing, so I thought perhaps when it is not so wet... I will go take a look.
Within minutes the clouds parted... the gutters were not overflowing anymore... and I kindof forgot about it... and I was sooo happy that I didn't have to decide whether to sell the house or find the yucky blocked downspout.
But here's the thing... the next time it rains... that blocked downspout is going to cause overflowing gutters, again. And I will go through the same thinking... should I just get rid of this house or perhaps wish I had cleaned out that drainspout.
And as I begin to think about it... it is really expensive to sell and buy a home... and there is all that packing involved... and Christopher would miss his neighborhood friends... and what about my beautiful garden... and the truth be told... the next house would end up (like every other home in Portland) having blocked drainspouts. And would I want to sell the next house... no, not really.
However, the idea of cleaning the drainspout sounds yucky and cold. I sure wish someone else would fix it for me. But the problem there is... I don't know when that would be. And I might have to start nagging about someone else fixing a problem that I could fix myself.
So, in the warmth of the sun, I decided to take a stroll in the backyard. Looked in the gutter. Yup, it is still blocked. Looked for the downspout. It was within easy reach... but I had to steady myself to get to it. Saw there was a yucky mess... decided to stick my hand in and move the mess... and to my delight... the water started to flow down the downspout. And flow. And flow. And flow. And it was actually a pretty neat sight to behold... and pleasing to listen to... And the satisfaction... that I did it myself.
I haven't had the chance to tell Anthony yet that I did it. He's still working. But I have to tell you that doing it myself gave me a little boost of confidence if something like this happens, again. I know if it is a downspout I can't reach on my own that I will need to ask someone to help me... but I am relieved to now know that I don't have to sell my house.
Seem like a silly story? It's true... okay, well... I really wasn't thinking about selling the house. But it has made me wonder... what trouble or hardship or trial or suffering in my life is causing me to think that I just have to do something more drastic than is warranted so I don't have to deal with it? What problem have I determined to be one that I wish someone else would fix for me... when I could easily fix it myself... even though I might have to do a little hard work? What difficulty... if I only might ask for a little expert advice and get a different perspective... might be taken care of within moments of taking that advice? And I wonder if I had waited until the next time my problem flared up... I would have found that it caused additional damage which could have been averted had I taken care of it sooner?
Often in the midst of our difficulty we lose perspective... and think that the radical answer will solve the problem. But that is only true for the moment. Because if we count the entire cost, we will find out we have only delayed solving the problem... and have perhaps added more complications in the long run.
Food being generously poured out into containers for the poorest of poor.
And here is where we turn to the Lord and ask for wisdom and guidance. Trusting and obeying Him. In all areas of our lives whether it be a blocked drainspout... or a lousy marriage... or a broken relationship... or... well, fill in the blank. And God will be there for you...
There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise
even when we're hemmed in with troubles,
because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.
In alert expectancy such as this,
we're never left feeling shortchanged.
Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers
to hold everything God generously pours into our lives
through the Holy Spirit! Romans 8:3-5 The Message
I am praying for you, dear sister. Never forget that... In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I [Jesus] have overcome the world. (John 16:33)