Several weeks ago I noticed that I ran out of hot water during my nightly shower. Unusual, but didn’t think much of it. I was ready for bed. In the morning we seemed to have plenty, so I just chalked it up to “one of those things.”
This week I’ve run out every night, near the end of my shower. Well, last weekend we were in Gastonia, and Jamie and Carol’s water heater had blown a lower element – common enough problem, since the lower element does 70% of the work. I figured that was my problem too – the water heater has a little age on it, and the elements don’t last forever.
Kathy had a women’s retreat at church this morning, and I needed to take her, so I figured I might stop by Lowe’s on the way home to pick up an element and perhaps a thermostat, as often a blowing element takes the stat with it. So I wanted to glance at the heater to see what make/model it was in order to get the right element. When I opened the crawl space door, I was greeted with standing water, dripping insulation overhead, and a significant leak at the water heater plumbing, some 10-12 feet away. My heart sank. That was all I needed, especially being a lame duck – one arm in a sling recovering from rotator cuff repair surgery. (Mending nicely, actually.)
So off to church we go, having cut off the water heater and the well. And am I in the dumps! Oh, woe is me! My crawl space is dripping wet. Is all the underlayment going to rot out from under my bedroom? Are we going to be mold victims? Can I survive this? What young buck can I get to help me? Oh, woe is me! That was on the way to drop Kathy off.
On the way home, I reflected on my “Oh, Woe Is ME!” attitude a bit. Egypt is in the toilet, the people of the Middle East in general have discovered that their tyrant leaders (Muslim, mostly, but not entirely) have been denying them any hint of an abundant life for decades. Kadafi has promised to raise every family’s annual income by $400/year – a year! I make that much a day. (Well, not really. The government gets about 1/2 of it right off the top, but that’s another post.) Will the poor Haitians ever have a hint of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of virtue” (the meaning of “happiness” at the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence), given their corrupt, dysfunctional government and culture of distrust out of which it has grown? What about the Pakistanis, beleaguered by earthquakes and in the grip of ruthless radical Islamists?
Hmmm. Maybe my woes aren’t so big.
Maybe I should be thanking God for his incredible provision, instead of taking it for granted. Maybe I should be on my knees in prayer for others, instead of being so self-focused. Maybe the next time I see someone hurting, I’ll stop what I’m doing and pay attention to them in their woe. Just maybe.
The rest of the story – turned out to be a leaky fitting, easily fixed, even by a one-armed man. Only took two trips to Lowe’s.