Our house is 100 years old. It has some quirks as 100-year-old items do. Most relevant to us today is that each year our plumbing gets wonky and we have to snake out the mainline. We schedule this each spring in April. My husband rents a machine that goes out 100 feet from the house and clears all the tree roots from the pipes. Apparently, trees get thirsty and they know they can get into the joints of the pipes and find water. In the spring, the toilet and sink in our downstairs bathroom let us know the time has come. When you flush the toilet, the sink will gurgle. Weird but true.
As time passes the time lapse between the flush and the gurgle will get shorter and shorter until we snake the main drain. This year, the gurgle started in January. January…months early. I didn’t want to believe it so for a few weeks I didn’t. But the gurgle started getting closer and closer until everyone in the house was talking about it, knowing what had to be done but trying so hard to deny it.
We groaned that it happened so early but eventually we called the company we typically rent the machine from. We couldn’t get the machine. I honestly don’t remember why, but it was booked or something. So we waited a little longer. February came and the toilets started backing up and we had to plunge them…regularly. I called Roto-Rooter because I knew if we kept ignoring it we were going to really regret it.
It cost 3x as much to have professionals come out and my husband is a DIYer so it just pained him to pay someone to do what he knew he could do. We grumbled a bit and bemoaned having an unexpected expense. But we called and they came, and they were amazing, and they cleaned it all out in no time. Turns out, our line is 130 feet, we were only cleaning out the first 100 feet.
And then the world was shaken up by a virus you may be familiar with and things unraveled a bit. Thoughts of the toilet were pushed far from mind, other than our slightly frantic search for enough toilet paper to sustain a family of six.
But today, sitting on the toilet, as we all must sometimes do, God reminded me.
“Remember when the pipes were clogged”
“Yes. I am thankful they aren’t now.” And then it flooded over me as if my eyes had suddenly been opened. If the pipes hadn’t clogged early, there is a good chance we wouldn’t have been able to get them cleared due to all the closings. We may have had a much worse situation.
But it wasn’t just the pipes. My eyes could suddenly see a thousand little things that had been “annoyances” over the last year that actually worked out to prepare us for this very moment. Things like delayed paychecks that had they arrived on time, we wouldn’t have had the extra funds to buy a little extra groceries so we could quarantine as our state has requested. Small changes that at the time seemed to be things “not going our way” that we now see made it easier for our children to be home finishing the school year online. All the little things that seemed like we just couldn’t catch a break – were actually EXACTLY the break we needed.
My heart was flooded with gratitude. I was so thankful for all that God had done to prepare us and I felt a little embarrassed that I had grumbled as each little thing had “gone wrong.” Our view is so limited, our understanding so incredibly small. Sometimes it all seems to go wrong so that it can be right. So that something much better can happen, or so that something worse is avoided.
I am so thankful for the reminder that we can’t see the whole picture here. We can’t know. We just have to trust His word that ALL things work together for our good. ALL things, even clogged toilets.