My 2004 Chevy Venture is oozing with water. Inside. I thought I had an AC issue–and my dear husband and I have spent the last week cleaning air filters and cleansing condensation lines in an attempt to address it. Instead of getting better, however, the problem is getting worse.
Or we are just discovering how bad it is.
The first sign? Wet carpets on the front passenger side of the vehicle. We pulled back the carpet, dried it out as we attempted to fix the problem, and thought we had found success as I saw no new evidence of water for a few days.
Lies, all lies! The sense of security I experienced was because the water isn’t floating on top of a nice rubber base and then soaking the carpet. The water is under the carpet. Under the foam layer. Under the second foam layer. And under the rubber mat that clings to the metal base of the car. Just lifting those foam layers and foam-bottomed rubber mat squeezes out puddles of water–and we still have no idea as to the source of the flood.
Which is now also on the driver’s side of the car.
Or has been for who knows how long?
(Perhaps the water, rather than the rabbit, has been the source of my “redefining normal” speedometer? You should see the wires that run through these puddles of water!)
Yesterday, I didn’t even drive my car because I didn’t want to use the air conditioning, considering it the source of the problem. And so I drove to school with my 16-year-old son. In his car. (So glad he now has one. And that he let me drive with him–though I paid by buying him breakfast on the way.)
When I returned home, my dear husband had dismantled the windshield wiper mechanisms and was flushing the area with hose water in an attempt to figure out if our recent deluges of rain had caused the indoor flood. All seems fine. But maybe the problem is rain, not air conditioning? How is the water getting in?
My kitchen sink faucet has been leaking for some time as well. When I lift up the handle, water sloshes behind the faucet and begins its travels along the backside of my counter. My dear husband bought the parts to fix it months ago. They sat on my windowsill, but as they served no purpose–clearly not reminding He Who Shall Not Be Named to take any action–I recently moved them in front of his computer screen. The faucet remains unfixed, and the parts are likely lost.
I noticed a couple of days ago that the leak seemed worse and that my lovely yellow Formica backsplash (yes, I am being sarcastic) is beginning to warp. When I mentioned that the leak was likely going to result in a new countertop, my husband sprang into action. Sort of. Yesterday he said, “We need to fix that faucet.” (I will interject that my dear husband, who is also He Who Shall Not Be Named, works seven days a week and is also a capable handyman.)
Who knew that water could be so treacherous? I’m not talking nasty, polluted water. I’m talking clear, fresh water. In literature, it would symbolize life, purity, cleansing. In my van and in my kitchen, it translates to damage, work, frustration.
A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience with nasty, polluted water–when it rose up from the depths of the toilet and poured onto my floors (which I sopped up with towels, mopped with bleach, and sterilized further with a steam mop). Needless to say, my husband and I (mostly me, actually, as he was late to work) sprang into action. While the disgusting overflow was a surprise, it was evident and demanded immediate, thorough attention.
But the seeping, undetectable water episodes feel like life lessons to me. The leaky faucet I thought I contained with my Sham-Wow! The van carpet I thought we’d fixed with an AC cleansing and a fan blow-dry. Dealing with these problems on a superficial level hasn’t made them go away. In fact, the problems are multiplying. We have to address the source of the issue. (Likely easier with the faucet than the van, however.)
My life is like the floorboard of my van, I fear. Saturated with busyness but so covered by layers of what appear to be good things that I fail to see the havoc wreaked by my willingness to say yes, my desire to please, my OCD perfectionist tendencies. It brings to mind the parable of the Sower and the Seed, especially the verses about the good seed being choked out by weeds.
“The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22, NIV).
You see, my busyness doesn’t just make me stressed or frantic or even irritable. It doesn’t just make me proud of my accomplishments or fulfilled by the praise of men. It chokes away the time I might spend at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him and His Word. It pulls me away from self-reflection, from asking “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24). Busyness prevents me from acknowledging or dealing with the true, underlying problem or sin that affects my life and my relationships with others.
Nasty, overflowing toilets get immediate attention. Drippy faucets are ignored until the damage they cause becomes noticeable. But insidious, mysterious leaks that saturate layers beneath the surface and remain unnoticed–for how long?–remind me that it’s time to to get to the heart of the matter.
Now, if I can just find the time…