The light bulb over our heads lit up and we had an “Aha” moment not too long ago, when we had our backyard dug up due to problems with our septic system.
For years, our house has been plagued with plumbing problems. We’ve had plumbers galore. Repair after repair. Each time thinking that this was finally it, we’d solved the riddle and our plumbing problems were finally behind us.
No such luck.
From things we’ve uncovered, and conversations with our realtor, we know that the people who owned the house before us had problems too. They were just carefully covered up before we bought the house, jimmy-rigged enough so that the home inspection didn’t catch it.
I’m not going to go into the repair details, but let me just say that it has cost us a pretty penny and lots of inconvenience. In fact, it’s been costing problems for home owners of this house for the past 29 years – which became perfectly clear once our backyard was dug up.
The amazing part to me was that it all came down to a three-inch mistake. One crucial pipe in the plumbing maze, buried under several feet of dirt, was pitched three inches too high.
For those of you that are familiar with plumbing, you know that it’s not some complex, computerized, technologically savvy marvel that drains the water through your pipes and away from your house. It’s just gravity.
Water simply does not drain uphill.
Once the pipe was reset and pitched correctly, our problems were instantly solved. Years worth of costly repairs, frustration and (on the part of the prior owners) a certain amount of deception – all resulted from one person’s choice to lay one pipe three inches too high.
It looked like he tried to make a new septic system fit into old pipes from the house, and he started from the wrong end. Rather than go back and redo, he changed the pitch.
Once fixed, I watched the water flow from pipe to pipe like it’s supposed to, and it made me think about how easy it can be to do that to ourselves. We go in the wrong direction, and it can muck up every other aspect of our lives. One lousy decision and the flow of our life becomes clogged. Stagnant. Leaving us unable to find our way out of the maze.
Yet I think our biggest mistake is not that we went in the wrong direction – hey, we’re only human – it’s that we take the easy way out and try to “fix” our problems by taking shortcuts, digging in the muck elsewhere, ignoring the consequences of our choice.
Like a lot of people, I tend to look at the wrong end and make decisions on the end result when I as yet have no clear idea of how to even get there. Like that quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, that everyone compares to a train ride: “Life Is a Journey, Not a Destination.”
I certainly can’t read the future. Mine or anyone else’s. I hesitate to rely only on my own judgment, because practically everyone thinks they are a good judge of character, but surely we can’t all be or the world wouldn’t be in the mess it is. We define ourselves a certain way, so when our choices take us down paths made of muck, it’s easier to blame circumstances or another person than to change our definition of ourselves.
This is one reason why I choose to believe in God. It’s comforting to ask for guidance from an all-knowing spirit that see’s the road ahead when I cannot. And I’m all about comfort. I think God is too.
Faith, you see, does run uphill. It has the power to overcome the wrong pitch and reset the flow in the right direction. Or at least, to add on a new pipe!
The hardest part is to stop digging in the muck, and remembering to ask.
Today, my wish for my readers (and myself!) is that our paths become ever clearer, giving us a journey worthy of the life He’s given us. God’s blessings to you all, Debbie.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105