Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:13
The clock was ticking…and I didn’t even know it. Getting older is, well, interesting. It certainly has its perks…like you mess up and people just give you that knowing nod, you know, the one that says, “We’re gonna give you a pass on that because you are old(er).” Of course, sometimes they are not understanding, and they give you the “what for”. One of the things that is just a bit difficult are the things that you lose. You know sometimes you lose your mind, sometimes you lose your hair, sometimes you lose your teeth, sometimes you lose your vision and sometimes you lose your hearing. Wait, what did you say?
Well, I can speak from personal experience on a couple of those things. My hair is retreating and my hearing, in a least one ear, is well, less than. One of favorite hearing tests is the fact that I can cover my “bad” ear and still hear our clock ticking at 25 feet. If I cover my good ear…not matter how close I get…I can’t hear a thing. One time I put my face up to the face of the clock and still couldn’t hear a thing. But here’s what is strange—it’s not every sound, but only certain frequencies. I can hear most voices (except my wife’s), most music, and most other sounds. Of course, some things you just can’t hear—or see coming. That happened a couple of years ago. A clock was ticking, and I had no idea.
My wife called me one Wednesday afternoon. She sounded a bit frustrated—you know like that tone wives have when they ask their husbands to take the trash out for three days…well, it was kinda like that. Just a little edgy. But this had nothing to do with the trash. Instead, she said, “Dewayne the ceiling in the middle bedroom has fallen.” I said, “What?” She repeated what she said and yes, I had heard her right. It turns out that over half of the plaster ceiling in the spare room was now laying on the bed and floor. I said I was on my way! When I got home, I found out that she was not kidding or even exaggerating. Water-soaked plaster and blown insulation covered the bed and the entire floor. What a mess! How do you even begin to clean it up?
As it turns out…it was not a fluke. We have an air conditioning unit in our attic for the upstairs. When the company installed it, they build a small platform where the overflow pan would sit. The pan was there in case the primary drain clogged. So, unknown to me, the main drain clogged, and the pan began to fill. The pan also had a drain but, in this case, it just wasn’t enough to handle the excess water. As it filled with water the platform slowly, ever so slowly, began to tilt. As it tilted, the water in the pan spilled over the edge and onto the attic floor, seeping into the ceiling. Slowly, surely, over a few days, and believe it or not, without a drip, the ceiling continued to absorb the water until it had enough… and the insulation and plaster fell…big time.
It was a sloppy, no fun, you’ve got to be kidding me, mess. And then, of course, we had to repair the ceiling. It took us a couple of hours to clean up the mess and a good friend helped me repair the ceiling. We also had someone come in and properly rebuild the platform so it would not give way again. In two or three weeks the whole thing was a memory. It was a learning experience for sure.
One lesson I learned, is to make a trip to the attic on a regular basis and make sure everything is working. Pour some bleach in the drain to kill any algae and make sure the drain isn’t clogged. Two, understand that there are clocks ticking that we don’t hear…can’t hear and when the straw breaks the camel’s back—you’ve got yourself a dead camel.
Life is filled with surprises and with some, all the preparation and all the good intentions in the world, can’t help you avoid them. But we can do what we can do. It never occurred to me to ask God why He allowed that ceiling to fall. I mean, I know He loves me and I’m sure on that day He wasn’t mad at me. The bottom line is… I didn’t do my part. My part was to make a trip to the attic every once in a while, and check things out. His part was to help me not lose my cool during the mess. And, amazingly, even though I didn’t do my thing…He did His. He sent friends to help and now in the summer when the air is running, I make an occasional trip to the attic.
You know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—or several pounds of wet insulation and plaster. So, thank you Father for helping me grow in patience and shrink a little in frustration. Thank you for being faithful and for always being there. I know, “You’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne