At 8:30pm standing over a flooding floor drain with a wet/dry vacuum trying to control the incessant water is not how I typically picture spending my one day off.
However, this is exactly how I spent four and one half hours of my day off: sucking up water, and emptying the bucket.
The only redeeming quality is that my beloved was with me. She was able to share some of the burden with me, and she was also a wonderful companion to keep me company, to talk with, and to keep me from doing anything rash like filling the whole church basement with concrete and pretending that it never existed.
This was a problem which could happen to anyone, anywhere. It is not anyone’s fault, and there was really no better solution than just to try to keep it as dry as possible for as long as possible until we could call a plumber.
“It’s just that nothing is dependable,” she told me. She didn’t have to say anything more, I knew to what she was referring. Our church struggles financially, so there is no real sense of security there. Our building is old with a lot of deferred maintenance, and so each day one never knows what surprises the building might be hiding and preparing to reveal. Our community has a lot of challenges, and I never know what I will face when I get up any given morning.
I have found that I cannot depend on anything except to expect the unexpected.
Perhaps this is true of more things than just our church, though.
Perhaps this is a good lesson for me, someone who is always seeking to find security, dependability, and consistency. Perhaps this is all one big object lesson to teach that seeking security and dependability in all of this is superfluous; after all, the only true dependability can be found in God.
After our discussion, I went back to the kitchen, turned on the utility vacuum, and continued sucking up water.
This old building is a mess, I thought. Yes, it is a mess. But so am I, and so are all of us, when it really comes down to it. Perhaps this is what I am reacting to so strongly and not simply the water. Perhaps it is that in the fact that the building is filled with problems, and it serves as a mirror where I can see all of my own problems more clearly, without anything to cover them up or gloss over them.