Yesterday was not my day. We have one of those faucets in our kitchen sink you can pull out on a little hose. Well, we had one. I came out from taking a shower to find that my toddler had broken it. Now it resembles a drinking fountain when turned on lightly and a fire hose shooting across the room when turned on full strength, thus rendering it largely useless. My son, who had been sick earlier in the week but felt better Friday and Saturday, was throwing up again. He’s old enough to leave at home during church, so the rest of us went without him. We returned home to find our house flooded. My first thought was the kitchen faucet, but no. It was the washing machine, which had overflowed. Awesome. So now I’m down a kitchen sink and a washing machine, two things I use a lot. My oldest son and I shop-vacuumed the tile part of the floor and used the carpet cleaning machine for the carpets where it had seeped into the rooms. We pulled up over ten gallons of water. I could have spent all day working on the carpets and steam mopping in the wake of the murky water, but that was not to be. I had to be at our church for the LWML fall rally, which we were hosting. So four and a half hours later, I returned home exhausted only to put in a few more hours on the carpets, and still they are sodden and nasty and have the distinct odor of a wet sock. Like I said, it was not my day.
Or was it? The rally, which I honestly would rather have skipped in order to tackle those carpets, turned out to be just what I needed to help put things in perspective. Our mission speaker was a pastor who works with Lutheran Heritage Foundation, an organization that translates Lutheran books like the catechism and A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories into other languages to distribute in many countries around the world. This pastor and his wife had spent some time in Cambodia, and told of the suffering many faced under the Pol Pot regime. He met people who had been tortured to the point that they were forced to kill their own parents. Unimaginable. After relating this, our speaker said, “I’m telling you this in case any of you think you’re suffering.” Ouch. Convicted. I got the point. I know people who really are suffering. I have a friend suffering through an aggressive strain of cancer after being in remission, and this time the outlook is pretty bleak. I have other friends who are struggling with broken marriages, including one that involved abuse. There are people left without homes after the recent hurricanes. I mean, yeah, my day wasn’t exactly fun, but I recognize that I’m not truly suffering. I’m inconvenienced. There’s a huge difference.
Friend, I don’t know what you’re facing today. Perhaps you’re irritated and inconvenienced like I was. I know how frustrating that is. But then again, maybe you truly are suffering. If so, I’m sorry. As our speaker yesterday continued, he told of how he led a seminar on suffering in Cambodia with those very people who had suffered so much. He told them that God uses suffering to humble us and teach us to rely solely upon Him and not on our own strength. It’s never fun going through it, but God does not forsake you even when you think He has. He is there, teaching you that ultimately, He’s the only One you need. When our mission speaker finished this seminar in Cambodia, they gave him a standing ovation. These people, who had suffered more than I can comprehend, agreed with him. They had seen how God had worked in their own lives despite unthinkable outward circumstances. And if they can adopt that attitude, I can certainly live without a kitchen faucet for a few days.
Yes, you will have days where it seems like everything is going wrong. But looking back, I have to admit that’s not entirely true. Yesterday was actually quite decent in many respects. A friend texted me that she was praying for me in the morning, which was rather appropos given the fact that I hadn’t told her any of the mishaps of the day yet. I was able to go to church and hear the Word of God and receive the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. My son and I almost had fun as we sucked water off the floor, making jokes and teasing each other about who was pulling up more. And hey, for that matter, we have a shop vac and carpet cleaner, which made the cleanup easier than if we hadn’t had them. Since I didn’t have time to make lunch, my son offered to make waffles for everyone, which he did with next to no help from me. My other son was feeling better by the afternoon. My toddler took a rare nap, so I felt more comfortable leaving him with his brothers to babysit while I went to the rally with the girls. After the rally, there was a light supper, so we ate there, which saved me the time and trouble of making dinner and figuring out how to do dishes in our defunct sink. And once the kids were in bed, I finally opened the washing machine to explore what was going on, and by some miracle was able to get it working again. I’m not at all sure what happened with the overflow, but it’s working again now and I’m listening to the beautiful hum of the spin cycle as I type this. I’ll just be sure not to leave the house again while I’m running a load of wash. And just in case, I have a friend on call who has already fixed our washing machine for us. A plumber is coming to look at our faucet, and we have an industrial carpet fan available to borrow for the carpets. So really, all things considered, yesterday was actually a pretty good day.