Yesterday was an exciting day. Unfortunately not all excitement is enjoyable. It started out with a play date with good friends. As the kids ran around outside, the moms talked. I should have known something was awry when, despite very little recent precipitation, the kids found glorious mud to play with in my side yard. But I didn’t give it a second thought. A couple of hours after our friends left the fun began.
I walked into my closet to retrieve something, and when I turned around I saw my footprints in water covering the carpeted floor. It was drenched! So much so, that every step I took caused water to spray everywhere. I was so confused. After finding the water in the closet, I discovered water seeping into both downstairs bathrooms, and also discovered that the carpet in my bedroom, as well as the wood floor in the hallway were soaked from the bottom up. It wasn’t noticeable at first glance, but every step brought the water to the surface. I ran back to my closet, where the water seemed to be originating, stopped and listened. It sounded like a waterfall was inside my wall. I immediately looked at the ceiling, expecting the water to be coming from there. But it seemed dry up there. I ran outside to where the kids had earlier been playing in mud and saw that water was spraying out of my house. Finally, I made it to the garage, which was the real source of the problem.
The water heater had busted and was spraying water everywhere. I called Joel to ask him how to shut off the water to the house. No answer. I called my stepdad. No answer. So to Google I turned. The first response I found began with, “Knowing how to shut off the water valve to your house is something every homeowner should know how to do.” Thanks for making me feel guilty. Now tell me how to do it!
I was a bit emotionally fragile before all this began, so as I’m running around with no idea what I’m doing, for about 45 minutes I was seconds away from collapsing on the floor in tears. But I had to fake it ’till I made it. The kids were watching, and sobbing on the floor would not help the water stop pouring into my walls.
As I was struggling with the water shutoff valve, my stepdad called back and walked me through the water shut off. But water continued to pour out of the water heater. He then walked me through shutting off the water to the heater and attaching a hose to drain the water heater. At that point, the waterfall ceased, and I finally experienced a moment of peace. At this point I felt like I could breath. I asked my dad what to do now, and he so sweetly encouraged me and helped me think through following steps. And assured me that everything is not lost. It can all be fixed.
After the phone conversation with my dad, I was no longer on the brink of tears and was able to switch to “just get it done” mode. I didn’t especially enjoy slopping through the muck of what used to be my house & garage, but there was nothing I could do to change that, so there was really no reason to freak out or despair over what was already done. And being miserable certainly wouldn’t help us get the work done. So I put on a smile and decided to praise God in this storm and thank Him for this opportunity to glorify Him.
In the midst of all this drama, Joel did get my phone call and thankfully was able to come home from work to help sort out the mess. Joel was precious. He came home with a smile on his face grateful to see his family. Out of his love for me, he chose to handle the insurance and repair men calls. I MUCH prefer to clean out a mucky garage to those kinds of phone calls! When we had done all we could to clean out the house and garage, we went outside to hang out with the kids while the repair men spent hours assessing the damage, vacuuming out the water from our house, and setting up fans and dehumidifiers.
The day ended up being absolutely beautiful.
When it all began, Solomon became my shadow to help where he could (and to eavesdrop on my phone conversations because he’s getting so old!) When he heard me asking how to shut off the water valve, he went inside and filled everyone’s water bottles so we would have water to drink. I didn’t even ask him to do that. I appreciate his thoughtfulness and his ability to have big-picture thoughts.
As I was clearing everything out of our closet, Solomon was eager to help, and Benjamin put on his crocs so he could splash around on the carpet in my bedroom. We all laughed with him. I loved seeing something that can be described as a disaster bring my sweet 3 year old so much joy.
When I was cleaning out the garage I noticed that Solomon and Shylah were fascinated by the water hose draining water into our driveway. The water was seeping water into the cracks, making tiny rivers that rushed into the street. When I saw their joy I decided to take a break to join them. We followed the river down to the street, and watched it bust through the dust like a dam. We created leaf boats and enjoyed following them down to the gutter.
Later I gave the kids permission to build dirt houses for little toys. They used the water that was draining from the water heater, mixed it with dirt and had a lovely afternoon creating a little village. Once all the work inside was done and there was nothing to do but wait as the men worked on our house, I sat out front with the kids while they continued working on their houses. It was so peaceful. I often wish I had more time to just sit with the kids and enjoy their play time with them. Being forced out of my house gave me that time! Joel joined us when he was finished with phone calls, and we all sat smiling, simply enjoying each other in the beautiful spring-like weather.
God is good. When I stop and remember that, everything is better. The initial discovery of this disaster was difficult. I was in survival mode, and my brain was wandering in selfish directions. Besides taking weekend trips to visit relatives, Joel and I haven’t done any traveling together. It is something I have always dreamed of, but we just haven’t had the means. We have been scrimping and saving for years, to reach a point where Joel and I have just begun to discuss the possibility of actually taking a trip in the next year or so. As water rushed into my walls I saw all our travel dreams crushed. Rather than focus on my incredible blessings, I was whining in my head about having to once more put off travel dreams.
But when the water stopped I was able to see God again. HE IS GOOD. What right do I have to complain about our travel budget being spent on damage repair? Our family is healthy. Our home is in tact. Because we have been so careful to save, praise God, this damage will not cause us to go into debt or wonder where our next meal will come from. We are rich indeed. And though I pray I never have to be tested in such a way, I am confident that even if we lost our family, our belongings, and did have to struggle to put food on the table, God would give us the grace to manage that as well. I praise God my maker and thank Him for all the little and HUGE blessings in life!
Glory to God!
(Solomon is not in any of the pictures because he was right by my side all day.)