Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lessons from my Chimney Pipe

This morning after I brewed some coffee in my new-for-Christmas coffee pot, I went downstairs by the stove to have my quiet time with the Lord. I was on my knees for not more than a minute before I heard, "Bonk". Then, again, "BONK". It is hard to pray when every 45 seconds or so you are hearing, "Bonk". It wasn't long before the sound had a more liquid sound, "Shplonk". I knew the cap on the chimney pipe was letting some of the "not quite snowflakes" inside like it had done 5-6 years ago.

Since I was talking to the Lord about it I turned the conversation to my newly discovered problem. Here are some things I learned as He and I talked about this:

  1. Are you thankful? It has been almost a year since I tore up a sidewalk behind my house to repair a severed sewer pipe that was leaking back into our washing machine drain, almost a year. I haven't had a single "water is running into your house" problem for almost a year. Isn't that something to be thankful about.
  2. Are you thankful? I know this sounds like the first lesson. On Christmas day my immediate and extended family journeyed into downtown Eugene, under a bridge, and gave hot chocolate to some folks that spend Christmas day under the bridge (In a couple days you can see some pictures on the H2O blog). The winter wind cut through our jackets and our ears and fingers throbbed. I thought at that time, I'm not thankful enough for the common grace of a warm home, not to mention a big meal I'm about to eat. That's a great thing to think on a holiday when you feel a strange mixture of kindness and self-righteousness. What about when the house you are thankful for is leaking?
  3. The same event can be bad and good. I was disappointed, to put it mildly, that I couldn't sip my coffee beside the fire and have a nice peaceful quiet time. That's, after all, why I got up early in the morning. And, I'm going to climb up on the roof in the snow (maybe?) and caulk the cap on the chimney. That's bad. On the other hand, I heard the leak while it was still "bonk" before the water had gathered in the tin chimney cover right above our stove, "shplonk". That means it must have just started and I caught it before the roof caved in and/or water was everywhere. That's good. Hmmm.
  4. It's hard to pray and read your Bible during a modified Chinese water torture. The constant "bonk" not only was distracting, but a constant reminder of what will happen if I continue to sit there. It occurred to me that that's why most people don't pray. They don't have time to. Something is more pressing. Something won't go away. Some noise pounds in the background, "Don't forget me. Don't forget me." And so, we can't/don't stop for time with a God who is much quieter about his demand for our attention.
I hope you don't need a leaking chimney to hear from God. But, I've got to go. . . Home Depot is calling.

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