Since moving to this house, I have lost track of the amount of disasters we’ve encountered in trying to make it “home”. There always seems to be one problem after another that delays the process. So we live with half finished everything, and it can really get a person down, way down. Our latest disaster happened yesterday. Well, really, it began earlier in the week with the arrival of a rat. This rat made himself at home in the cavity wall/between the floorboards. He has spent time scurrying, scrabbling, chewing, running and basically being a real hooligan. We do not see him come or go, but he’s a bit like clockwork in the times he starts up his activity above our heads. His favourite times are in the middle of the night.
Mr P tried to get in touch with pest control but received no help yet, so we will have to call again tomorrow. On Friday night we went to bed to rest for a day of getting stuff done in the garden like finally getting Miss E’s swing up and tackling weeds and so forth. At 12:40 am I awoke with a jump as there was all this noise that sounded very much like Miss E crawling around in her usual fast fashion on the landing(we have no carpet-another one of those half finished things-so her crawling is quite loud). I was in a panic as I knew hadn’t shut the one stair gate we have at the top of the stairs, but we found her sleeping peacefully in her room. Our rat guest was awake. In the end we put on music just so we could drown him out and go to sleep. At this point we still thought he was contained to the area above our heads and in the cavity walls. How naive!
7 am we woke up and Mr P opened the bedroom door. There was this hissing noise. I was wondering what on earth it could be. Mr P went downstairs then came running back up grabbing towels etc. Our kitchen was flooded with water. coming through the ceiling, dripping down the walls, starting to slosh out into the hallway(good thing the flooring there still needs replacing as it’s now pretty ruined!). I have never seen so much water in the wrong place in my life. The source was underneath the bath again. Just typical! We’ve had no end of issues since we replaced the bath and a few months ago we had someone in to fix it. The bath needed ripping out and everything. So we were very disgruntled and had decided enough was enough and a new bath with taps on the end instead of in the middle would be necessary now.
Needless to say all our plans for the day were delayed and 2 hours of the morning were spent clearing up the damage caused by all this water and finding somewhere for all the soggy recipe books to reside. A new agenda was set for the day, namely fixing the leak. Upon closer inspection of the pipe it was found that the issues causing the leak had nothing to do with the plumbing(the old problem we had that caused watery messes), but that our furry house guest had been gnawing along the pipe during the night having a good old time to himself and causing us a load of clean up and damage. The fact that he was only on the other side of the bath panel terrifies me. I mean in the walls is bad, but beside you when you’re on the toilet in the middle of the night?!
The pipe got fixed and a trap was set under the bath incase he decided to come back again. He was super active last night so we slept in the front room away from his noise. Today we have heard nothing from him, although we have been out for a few hours at church, but there is silence above our heads. Which could mean he’s in the trap, he’s found a new home, or he’s out and will be back……….I’m hoping the first is true!
At times like this our natural human response is to despair. We get down, we wallow in our self-pity and we feel fully justified in doing so. Do you? I know I do!! Yet, God says we are to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). What? Now, I get giving thanks for good things. I mean, it’s easy to be thankful for all the lovely blessings bestowed upon us. But, really, what good can there be in a vermin that causes so much destruction and yet another setback?! Surely the verse is wrong? Surely it didn’t mean in every circumstance?! Yes, yes it did. As hard as it is to comprehend and how much it goes against our natural nature to put into action, we are told to give thanks in everything. Giving thanks brings joy to our lives; we have to choose to be joyful. Happiness is easy because it’s the feeling we have when things are going well. Joy is not because we have to choose it when things are going wrong. Giving thanks for the blessing we do have brings joy to our hearts. Giving thanks also draws us closer to God. It reminds us that we are under his care and covering. The road may seem unending and dark to us, but He sees the full picture and He alone can guide us out. Giving thanks reminds us that these things are passing, fleeting circumstances and, in the view of eternity, they aren’t worth getting worked up over. it keeps our eyes focused on our heavenly home. Giving thanks takes our eyes off of ourselves (that’s pretty hard for selfish beings like us) and focuses them on God. Giving thanks helps us to bear witness to God in our lives……..it is far from a natural response to be thankful for the dirt in this life; only God can transform our hearts and make it so we see good in bad.
Do I like it that we are told to give thanks no matter what comes? Not one bit. Do I LIKE to give thanks when I’m sat trying to make something beautiful from the dirt of life but all I seem to get is more dirt? Not at all. Do I manage to give thanks all the time? No I fail way more than I succeed in this area. I’m still sinful by nature. I love nothing more than to whine and stamp my feet and throw myself on the floor in a tantrum wailing about how unfair my life is(not in a literal sense). But doing that doesn’t get me anywhere. All it does it make me even more unhappy, grumpy, disgruntled and more adjectives along this vein. It doesn’t bring peace and joy to my heart and life.
But yesterday, I started thinking what good is there in this situation? And here are the things I have to give thanks for:
-Miss E: throughout it all in the midst of clearing up water etc, she remained her happy bubbly self. she wasn’t phased by the rat, the damage caused or anything else. She was just simply enjoying life and being happy where she found herself……..kinda like we should be!
-It didn’t happen during the time we were away. There was enough water from the rat’s antics in the middle of the night. God spared us from even more devastation.
-We have not yet come face to face with the rat. Phew! I think I might faint or else someone would be scraping me off the ceiling.
-There is only one. There could be a rat infestation, but there is only one to deal with.
-The damaged pipe was easily fixed and all is back to normal under the bath.
-This world is not our home. We have faced plenty of trials and ups and downs, but we don’t face them alone. We have hope, and it is this hope and knowledge of what is to come that keeps this fleeting life in perspective.
-Miss E’s swing did get up in the garden and she is delighted. She loves swings, so we are pleased she finally gets to use her own that’s been sat in the garage for ages.
-So far no wires have been chewed through or any other damage done.
So even now we truly do have a lot to be thankful for, and in counting the blessings and writing them down and letting them sink in it sweetens the bitterness of life’s disappointments. What have you got to be thankful for today?