Roto-Rooter and Self-Revelation


Roto Rooter has been here for three hours this morning - for the second day in a row- only to drive away leaving me with French drain box in the yard still full of water and a man with his hands turned upward in the air saying he can’t figure out why the water isn’t draining into the elaborate system of pipes we’ve installed over the years to take water away from the house  to the street.  

I don’t even want to see the bill! He must be paid for his time, of course; but it’s hard to write a big check for an unsolved problem knowing full well I now have to call the man who installed the elaborate pipe system.  I doubt he’ll remember where the T’s are in his pipes so he’ll then dig up half my yard to figure out why they won’t drain. And I’ll pay him, too.

I wanted to spend the morning reflecting on Easter, thinking beautiful thoughts and writing them on this blog. Instead, I stood in the sweating in the Alabama noonday heat looking at muddy water in a box and a drainage plan on paper that apparently wasn’t executed the way it was drawn. I also spent the morning learning how to kneel on the ground with the Roto-Rooter man and ‘hear’ the water. 

The last line I’d written in prayer early this morning was ‘Thank you for the reminder to trust You in all things.” 

It isn’t lost on me that a few hours later I was kneeling with my ear to the damp ground listening to the water flowing through the unseen pipes.

I could feel the vibrations in my hands and knees.  

It was there, flowing with force, able to be heard and felt; and yet exactly what its trajectory is remains a mystery. 

It’s not disease, pain, or tragedy. It’s not unemployment or heartache with a loved one. It’s muddy water in the yard - a nuisance at best. Not worthy to be called a problem in the big scheme of things. 

So why then am I completely and utterly frustrated?  My body wants to stomp a foot or slam a door or raise my voice. My mind won’t shut up about what to do next. It shouts that I should have taken pictures when they installed the thing so I’d know what was under the flowerbeds, grass and walkways. It’s nagging me with how much the next guy is going to charge…and will he even solve the problem?  Another voice in my head says I need to chill out and get over myself: two friends are without jobs right now; a family member is at the doctor in pain this very morning. 

Is it harder to trust God when the “all things”  in my life are just nuisance, when the problems are irritating not earth-shaking?  The extraordinary peace seems to come in the moments of crisis and tragedy.  Where is that peace and how do I get in in the moment of “just plain annoyed?”  

The smaller the upset, the stronger the temptation to self-reliance. Standing water in the grass won’t harm me physically, emotionally or spiritually. I wrote the check to Roto-Rooter; and though I didn’t enjoy it,  won’t ruin me financially.  Life can go right on…so I don’t trust Him here in this moment…is that how it goes with me?  Faith is only for the crisis?  Preferably someone else’s crisis?

Maybe I need to go get on my knees on the damp ground again and listen to the water.