Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Flooded Basement

I had bigger plans. I had loftier goals for my day. But the basement flooded. I despise flooded basements. I can take almost anything but a flooded basement. It's like a magic magnifying glass that focuses all darkness into one intense spot of burning bile.

I don't think God or Satan plugged up the drain. It was an accumulation of guck brought to a crisis by an excessive amount of cabbage ground through the garbage disposal. It was, as it always is, a crisis brought on by my own procrastination. A crisis compounded by the neglect of not having the floor tidied up. So I'm not just cleaning up spilled water, but unswept sawdust, unstowed tools, and other detritus that clutter the floor.

Of course, my first thoughts, though, are about who else to blame. Who ground all the cabbage that should have gone into the compost heap. Who left laundry on the floor. This is all miserable enough without having to accept the blame for it.

I've done this often enough that I know it's best to do it alone. While I certainly could use some help, I don't want to have anyone around upon whom to vent my rage. So I grit my teeth, hunker down and hope everyone gives me a wide berth. They don't. I say hurtful things. Now I'm trying to avoid blaming someone else for my lack of emotional control as well.

Standing in water, I plug in the shop vac hoping I get electrocuted so I don't have to face this mess. No, wait, hoping I don't get electrocuted because I don't want to report to the other side in this condition. I want to go out sweet and kindly, not raving like a mad man. I have trouble deciding.

Clearly I hate the mess (and it wasn't so bad this time, because I still haven't managed to replace the carpet since the last time) but I hate the conflict even more. It intensifies the conflict in my heart and soul. I hate being forced to be honest with myself. I hate being forced to admit fault, neglect, procrastination. I hate having to deal with life that comes on any other terms than my own.

For weeks I've been telling myself that I can take life as it comes. "Bring it on!" I say. And then a simple little thing like a flooded basement reminds me that I hardly have the right stuff.

So I numbly settle down to the task at hand, I do the requisite chores, spend the requisite money, put on the knee pads and start running the snake, wondering what I'll find in the dark future of that smelly pipe. And aw, what the heck, might as well, since I'm down here - pray.

Now, a day later, the water's dried up. The stench isn't too bad. The drain's running better than it has for some time. The sun is out and my heart is light. The battle is won. A flooded basement turns out to be a blessing from Heaven and not a curse from Hell. What it turns out to be, after all, is a matter of my own choosing.


Love Life and Learning said...

My Mike mentioned in Sunday School last week that he believes that God's "blessings" and God's "cursing" are one in the same... to bless! That is all that God knows how to do

Candleman said...

Wow, that is truly profound and profoundly true!

I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the next while mulling that one over. I want it to sink deep.

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