Last November, just one week before Thanksgiving, a 36x36 inch hole was cut into our kitchen ceiling. A water stain had formed on it, prompting us to call someone in to find the cause — again. We thought we had fixed this leak several times before, and for months there had been no sign of it, but when a stain started to appear on the ceiling again, we knew it was still there.
For some reason the leak isn't constant, which makes it hard to determine where it's coming from. So far we’ve had in two plumbers, a tile guy, a carpenter and now a handyman to try to find and fix it, but nobody has yet.
The first plumber we called in several years ago told us the seal around the upstairs toilet needed replacing. Okay. That made sense. We had the toilet seal replaced. But the leak continued, albeit not right away, but months later. Thinking that maybe the water was coming through the upstairs shower walls, we called in a tile guy next. He told us the tiles and grout looked fine but that the backing behind the tiles was only drywall and that it should be some kind of water-proof board instead. Still, he didn't think the backing or the tiles or the grout were the cause of the leak. So next we called in a carpenter, who brought a plumber buddy with him. The carpenter had cut the hole in our kitchen ceiling last fall. He thought if he could see between the floors, he and the plumber might be able to figure out where the leak was coming from. After a lot of climbing up and down ladders and peering into the ceiling hole, the plumber decided the shower dials had gone bad in both showers upstairs. Okay. That made sense. Of course the dials had to be special-ordered because our dials were a little odd and the exact type was needed due to the layout of the pipes...or something like that. So both dials were replaced after waiting several weeks for them to come in. But the leak continued. We called the plumber back who said, "Well then it's got to be the spouts in both showers upstairs." Okay. That made sense. And both spouts were replaced. But the leak continued. So the carpenter recommended another friend — a handyman friend — who could fix anything! He came out, looked at the situation, and told us the tiles, grout, and backboard needed replacing. "But," he assured us, "just to be sure I'll also check all the piping behind both showers once I've gotten everything torn away." Okay. That made sense, I guess. So, starting next week, he's replacing the tiles, grout, and backboard in both showers. And so it continues…
We've been living with a hole in the kitchen ceiling for some 8 months now. During that time we've had a large party at our house for people from work — with a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling. We've hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my husband's side of the family — with a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling. We've had Bible studies in our home — with a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling. Not to mention the times we've had friends over to watch movies, or have dinner, or just hang out — with a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling. And this Sunday afternoon, we're having a 5-hour open house to celebrate our youngest daughter's graduation from high school and 18th birthday — with a gaping hole in our kitchen ceiling.
But that's not the extent of things gone bad over the past months. We've also put several thousand dollars into our cars. (The one needed a new transmission, don't you know.) The sliding glass door that opens (well, not at the moment) out onto the deck seems to be sinking into the basement. Apparently the wood underneath it has rotted and needs replacing. Thankfully, the handyman is taking care of this "little problem," too. And then there's all the smaller things gone wrong that make life exciting, like computers and satellite boxes getting fried by an electrical storm, refrigerators with broken ice shoots, and mice in the crawl space.
So last week when I read this, I laughed out loud. I could definitely relate!
Of course there's also that last bit. Even if things do get temporarily better around here, I’ll still have to contend with me. This world, including everything and everybody in it, has been corrupted by sin. But thankfully, this life is not all there is. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a time is coming when things will get better — permanently — when I will live in a perfect place, in a perfect body. So why would I ever want to "live" in frozen suspension here? Instead, I will strive to "consider it all joy...when I [you] encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of my [your] faith produces endurance" (James 1:2-3), and "that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in me [us]" (Rom 8:18).
And regarding that gaping hole in the kitchen ceiling? It really hasn’t been all that bad. I’ve gotten rather used to it. Besides, it's a great conversation piece because people inevitably ask, "So, what's with the hole in the ceiling?" To which we usually reply, "Well...we wanted to put a skylight in the kitchen but forgot we had a second floor." Some of the looks we've gotten back have been priceless! :)