Saturday, May 24, 2008

When I want to give up, I think of my tub drain.

Our tub has been slowly clogging up for about a month. One day I got in to take a shower and realized I was standing in several inches of water. I got out and tried to unscrew the drain plug. I tried everything to get it out. I pulled, twisted, unscrewed the overflow plate, and even looked on the Internet for hints on removal. The plug didn't budge. However, I did have a light bulb moment when I read that Nair hair remover can sometimes dissolve a hair clog. This, I thought, was worth a shot!

The Nair was really thick. I'm talking thick. Trying to coax it through the tiny space between the plug and the tub was a combination of gymnastics and engineering. Boiling water and plastic dinnerware were involved. I finally had the idea after another shower-in-a-small-lake that if I squirted the Nair foam directly proximal to the drain while the water was leaking out, the small current of water would drag the Nair with it into the pipe! I tried placing my little dollops every so often, and gradually, after a few treatments, the drain got better!

I had reduced the lake to a small puddle. However, several days later, it was back to being worse than ever. We drained 100's of leg's worth of Nair down the drain, and still, I was taking a foot & ankle bath each time I was in the shower. Well, I got mad and made the mistake of giving up.

Sometimes when you're in the middle of a serious trial, the little everyday annoyances like clogged drains can seem like huge walls in your way. There is just not enough energy and strength to cope with the small stuff. Already tired and sick of being opposed, it's so easy to lie down and give up at the slightest hint of resistance.

Another week or two went by. I almost slipped and fell a couple times. The water color was getting gross.

I finally broke down and cried. I wasn't crying over the drain exactly. I had just watched "A Good Year," where Russell Crow returns to his uncle's estate and remembers his past and finds love with a childhood sweetheart in a beautiful countryside. I remember lying there fighting off a migraine, with the light of the day slipping out of the room like an acquaintance edging away from my pain. Nothing on TV could soothe me. I was completely overwhelmed with grief at that moment-- for what I'd lost, the past I wanted back so badly, the future that felt like that tub drain-- unbudgeable and plugging up the flow of my simple dreams. I wallowed around in that dirty thought water, and I could not stop the waves of depression. Alone in the dark, without the ability to utter a sound, I felt as though I bled tears.

To make a long story even longer, I went online again that night and found that I'd been using the wrong term to Google the drain plug. My drain was a "lift-and-turn," not a "plunger." And trust me, that made all the difference in the world. Why? Because on my drain plug, there is a hidden screw! Yep, sure enough, the next day I put my head deep in the tub, looked sideways, and there was a small black answer to my huge Berlin wall. A few twists of the screwdriver, and the plug came out, the hair came out, the soap scum came out, and all that was left was some residue. We used a little baking soda and vinegar, and after a few impressive tub volcanoes, the drain was completely clean.

Although not a perfect analogy, hopefully this story helps you with at least one problem. If you want to unclog a "lift-and-turn" drain, you now know how. Also, if you feel your life obstacles will never budge, keep searching for God to turn that hidden screw. Don't ever, ever, ever give up on God. Part of waiting on the Lord is waiting expectantly and persistently. It's not always easy to keep those emotions hoping all the time, especially when you see so many other people receiving their breakthroughs. It can feel like God has forgotten your case and passed you by. I must confess I feel that way and constantly exercise my will to continue moving toward God.

It's kind of presumptive of me to start a blog called "qavah" (waiting) and then to expect for God to solve my problems right away. I know in my heart that I'm on a journey. My health problems are chronic, and have been, off and on, for the last 10 years. My family's problems have changed, but have also been serious and life-altering for the last 10 years. Though I've asked, believed, and actually begged for it, this hasn't been a time period where God waves his magic wand and says: "Miracle for you!"

I was struck by Joyce Meyer once saying that it often takes more faith *not* to receive a miracle than to receive one, meaning the moment-by-moment decision to continue trusting when all looks hopeless takes more faith than to pray and receive instantly. I think the emotional battle to hang on to hope in the darkness is the meat of faith. Faith is repeatedly resisting the temptation to walk away and quit trying. It's making the choice to go on with Christ rather than give up because what Christ has called you to seems too hard, or because your circumstances seem as good as dead. It's knowing God keeps his word.

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." --Hebrews 11:1

One of the best biblical examples of this is Abraham:

"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed..." Romans 4:18

Abraham faced an impossible situation. He was supposed to be the father of a nation, but he was about 85 years old, and his wife was about 75 at the time. They tried fixing this problem their own way, but many years later, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, Isaac was born to them. And Isaac was the father of Jacob, and Jacob's twelve sons were the twelve tribes of the nation Israel. Abraham's faith shines so much brighter because of the apparent hopelessness of its fulfillment. He trusted God in the *years* of darkness-- in spite of all sound earthly reason saying, "No. This won't happen for you." How many times must he have asked himself if he had misunderstood what God really meant? ...maybe he meant a spiritual nation from my example to neighbor kids.... Was Abraham stupid to keep believing for his miracle? Uneducated? Illogical? None of these. He wasn't believing for his life to change, but for God to change his life.

"Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-- since he was about a hundred years old-- and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised."
-- Romans 4:19-20

***Update: Our drain clogged again badly in early April 2010. The clog was deeper in the drain this time, so we resorted to using the "Zip-It" (Cobra Products, Inc.) which was very cheap, removed the clog completely, and was simple to use. I highly recommend picking one up at your local hardware store if you want to remove a hair clog in a hurry!

1 comment:

emily said...

Okay, don't laugh at me, but I about died laughing when I started reading your latest entry. My sink drain is clogged and probably with hair and it's doing what your tub is doing...then you tell me that Nair just might work rather than my liquid plummer? I mean, I didn't come here to read about how to unplug my drain! Nor did I expect us to both have clogged drains. It just seemed too funny. Now, when I am awake, I am going to read the whole entry and actually get the the reason beyond using Nair! Hope I'm at least cracking you up. I will get caught up soon on your blog...I LOVE reading it and it's always so well-written and powerful.
Goodnight for real! :)
Love, Em