Saved by the Plumber

Last week was one of those weeks!  It began with my husband gasping for breath which was followed by four full days in the hospital to treat his pneumonia once again.  From the hurried drive to the emergency room to a bed in the Telemetry unit, he struggled and I sat by helplessly watching.

On the evening of his third day of hospitalization I came home to find that neither toilet was working – (what is the likelihood that two sets of “flushers” and”flappers” would give out on the same day! Bables luck, for sure.)  It not a good situation at any time, but it certainly one that made his potential coming home the next day more problematic. After six months of one little crisis after another, this one seemed insurmountable – and expensive.  I went to bed at 8:30 and left it until the morning.

At 8:00 AM I made three phone calls to plumbers before I left for the hospital.  I finally found one that was available that day.  I asked the receptionist to have the plumber to call me at the hospital 30 minutes before he planned to be at my house so I could meet him there.  The plumber obeyed instructions and at noon left the hospital for home.  Traffic delays made my trip longer and in my anxious state I wondered if he would wait for me.  I saw him pull onto our street while I waited impatiently at a red light.  When I finally got to the house, he was parked across the street.  I jumped out of the car to apologize and was greeted with a big grin and the words, “Nice timing!”  As we walked in the house, he said, “You have a beautiful yard.”   I relaxed for the first time in sapple - helpingeveral days

I write a lot about being the “aroma of Christ” and creating a “space for grace” as we interact with others. That day I understood once again how important and influential being like Jesus to others can be.  This plumber, whom I had never met and will probably never see again, was as sweet and as professional as anyone could be. He explained the problem, fixed the problem and even pointed out potential problems that he couldn’t fix because we live in a manufactured home.  During our brief conversation about the bill, I said something about this being an unfortunate expense because I just learned that my-co-pay for insulin was going to be over $500 every six weeks as long as I live – a cost we will never be able to manage.  (I  must have been really uptight! I would never say something like that in ordinary circumstances.)  He was appropriately empathetic.

He was only in my home for 30 minutes but his caring attitude (that went beyond fixing the plumbing) totally changed my outlook on my day.  It reminded me how little we realize how our loving concern (or our bad attitudes) toward complete strangers affect their lives.

Fred came home from the hospital that night to two working toilets. The inconvenience we were spared was huge, but the lesson I learned that day was even larger. Taking time to really see and listen to people in the course of our day is often more of a blessing than the work we do.

image from www.

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