Recently I had to call a plumber after several of my own fruitless attempts to unclog a bathroom sink.
My first call netted a plumber who could find no clear cause for the drain backup—no lost toy, no child’s attempt to “fix” the problem. Yet there was still standing water. After 30 minutes, the plumber said he’d forgotten his longer rodder and couldn’t do any more. He left, to my frustration.
My second call was to a company who couldn’t send anyone that day. The next call was to a well-known place I was told was affordable. Not so much. This company’s plumber had a vision of tearing open walls and replacing all of our pipes, peppered with several condescending “honeys” and “you don’t want to bother your pretty little head” comments. After several minutes of this, I bid him goodbye.
At this point I knew I needed more wisdom. Who in my community might be able to advise me? Who would “have my back,” as folks say? After all, isn’t that the way God meant for us to live–in community—providing our skills and gifts to those who need them?
I called one of my brothers, who offered to stop by after work that day. Would I be willing to provide dinner? Of course! I also offered to serve as the plumber’s assistant and perhaps learn something.
[bctt tweet=”My experience was a reminder: God does not intend for us to walk through this world alone.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
My brother spent three slow, patient hours helping me. At some point, we ate spicy Thai stir-fry that I’d picked up from the family restaurant a few blocks away.
Over and over, we disassembled pipes and rodded the drain from the wall. Repeatedly, we reassembled the plumbing, applied teapots of boiling water and a plunger. That evening, I ferried hot teapots upstairs and buckets of sludge out to the yard until finally everything flowed smoothly.
My experience with the drain was a reminder I needed: God does not intend for us to walk through this world alone.
We need each other. We help each other. Rather than a quick, perhaps expensive fix, slow and patient attention–not to mention a little family fellowship—made a difference with my family’s clogged drain.
Elizabeth Hunter is editor of Gather magazine.
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