Packing and moving had its good and bad points. Whoever says they like to pack up a house is demented! We got rid of a lot of stuff, reminding us that while we advocate living more simply, we have a long way to go to live more simply so others might simply live.
Getting the privilege of purchasing a house rather than living in a church parsonage has been awesome - mostly. We've always put sweat equity into each house, part of our ministry back.
We moved at the end of June, had two great Sundays @ The Park, two weeks later I left for Russia and the World University Games (see post FISU). I returned from my "hobby job" to the "real job" but soon encountered a "new job." There were no Trustees to call, but there were good friends.
At 3 p.m. on that Tuesday, after receiving 2 inches of rain in an hour, we found water seeping into our walk-out basement. Just seeping, not flooding, but still quite a nuisance. For a house sitting on a hill, nicely sloped away in front and back, it was baffling, frusting, irritating and completely nauseating! So I began digging, doing whatever I had to to get the water away from the house.
Here's some of what I learned in my unexpected job as a ditch digger.
1. The cause is not usually near the presenting problem. When the flower bed between the stone patio and the house was filled with water for days on end, it's a problem. But that's not where the real problem is. The first order of business was getting the water away from the house, so we dug a 50 foot ditch through clay and rock. Up near the house, after removing 5 stones from the patio (something about the number of stones and conquering that which is bigger than you are seems awfully familiar), we found a crushed drain tile. We opened it up and everything drained. The bottom of the yard was a budding mosquito birthing unit.
Still the water flowed - and flowed - and kept flowing.
Finally after 3 weeks we found the culprit that caused all the issues - a tree root enjoying the spring water flowing through a storm water pipe had grown to 7 feet when stretched out on the ground. That spot was 75 feet from the crushed tile we initially uncovered.
When something infiltrates our lives, the cause is probably a good distance away. In Galatians 6:7 we read:
Here's an adage to live by: we reap WHAT we sow, MORE than we sow and LATER than we sow. Plant corn and you expect corn, not apples. There's a distance from the planting to the harvest. There's a separation between the problem and the cause. It's not always right in front of your face. The presenting issue is not the problem, it's only a symptom. Marriages don't fail in one day. The problems are cumulative. The drain gets clogged with junk, eventually poisoning the relationship.
Lately we've watched Justin Bieber & Miley Cyrus implode. It didn't happen overnight and what we're witnessing is the result of something else.
There are times when I don't believe a problem can be blamed on the principle of reaping and sowing. Someone else's sin can cause pain in our lives. Another's determination to identify you as poison isn't a "reaping and sowing" moment. It's probably more of a "I deserve what I tolerate" axiom.
2. Watch out! There are very few honest people in the world. I had no less than 5 companies come give me their opinion and estimates on dealing with this problem. No one dug. No one wondered. They just wanted to dig. Estimates ranged from $4500 to $11,000 for anything from a sump pump, 2 sump pumps to tiling the entire house again (we already have tile inside and out). One guy said to the
eventual "honest guy" - "you could have made some money on that job." Instead, the "honest guy," Don, wants to make a living but not at the expense of people. I'll never use another plumber as long as he's in business. $535 and the problem has been solved. I've already recommended him to 2 others.
My last day at my previous job, no less than 12 people said to me: "Thank you. We always got openness and honesty from you." Had it been said in a group, I would have been suspect but these were individuals. It was one of the best days of my life. Be honest. Be transparent. Tell the truth. The truth always comes out so you might as well start with it. Could it be difficult? Certainly. Might there be consequences? Yes. But the consequences of lying or shading the truth are much more painful.
Honest people are hard to find. My character flaw - ok, one of them - is that I trust people. I believe they actually are telling me the truth. This "new job" was yet another wake up call.
3. Patience wins the day. The first three days of my "new job" were less than pleasant. I was a bit jet-lagged to be sure, but more than that I was thinking about the implications of water in the basement, even a little water. While I immediately called water experts, I wasn't satisfied they had the answer - besides, I didn't have the money! I called friends - landscapers, talked with neighbors, a computer salesman (hey, I'd go to anyone!). I fretted like I've never fretted before but I knew we hadn't found the issue yet.
I tend to jump into a problem and just start doing something. That was not the way to deal with this issue, as my lovely wife gently encouraged me. I knew the water needed to get away from the house, but after that, I just wasn't sure.