Why Won’t It Drain?

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I have usually lived in “someone else’s house”.  I grew up a clergy child and my family didn’t own a home of our own until I was in middle school. Aside from a stint of home ownership in my mid-20s, and recently in the last few years, I’ve been a renter.

My husband and I both found our primary vocation in the church and subsequently often lived in church owned housing. One of my favorites was a 1940’s four bedroom center hall colonial. Along with an abundance of space for our family, tree lined streets and a great school system we had the perks of home ownership but not the rigors of home maintenance.

About a year after we moved into this house the bathtub in the upstairs bathroom began to drain very slowly. But it WOULD drain…. eventually. Evidently life and parenting and work and parenting and work and parenting and…well, work didn’t leave much time to figure out annoying plumbing problems. Six months later (Yes, six months. I know.), despite lots of plunging and Drano, the tub would not drain at all.  We began showering in the kid’s bathroom. Did I mention that we did not own this house. A couple phone calls and the drain would be fixed.

Finally after about a year (Yes. A year!) of making do, trying to solve the problem myself, Googling and complaining I finally decided it was time to call the plumber.  Armed with a wire coat hanger, flashlight and determination I sat in the tub staring at the faucet, hot and cold water knobs and the space where the missing handle for the drain release would have been.  With moves that would make a contortionist proud I tried to find the problem on last time.  Five more minutes, I reasoned.  Then I’ll call the plumber. Maybe I could still figure it out. Fine. I grabbed my phone. I’ll call for help.

And then I noticed something.  I slipped my pinkie finger in the hole that was left by the missing handle for the drain release.  I made one slight lift of a small metal lever.  I ran some water in the tub.  It drained easily.

For nearly a year, countless inconvenienced hours and way too many household chemicals later…I had been focusing on the wrong thing. I was focusing on the drain and it was all about the release.  It wouldn’t drain because it was almost completely closed off.  One small movement and it was open.


    • Where in your faith and life are you closed tightly?
    • Consider a part of your life where you value your selfsufficiency.  What keeps you from inviting God and others into that space?
    • What small movement might you make today to allow a release to openness and love in your relationship with God? Others? Yourself?

-Susan Ransom McDonald

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