Even when things crash all around you — or one big thing
The first time I dropped a Corelle dish on our ceramic tile — true to its advertised claims — it didn’t chip, scratch, or break. It exploded.
Apparently, tempered glass — the technology used in Corelle dishes — has a temper. Our shower doors are made of tempered glass, too.
Which was unfortunate. As was our location — inches away — from our sliding shower door when we learned this. (And a shower door is slightly larger than a cereal bowl.)
We thought a bomb exploded.
One second Steve was holding either edge of this safety glass. The next his bloody hands were empty.
The shattered door — minus the shrapnel it blew across the small room — mostly lay at our feet and inside the new shower. A pile of beautiful — dangerous — glass crystal crumbs.
It had disintegrated like a mini version of the 9-11 twin towers before our eyes — though too fast to see. Would the second tower also fall?
“Can a pressurized tempered glass door shrink from the pressure?” I later asked Steve after we learned that such “safety” glass could suffer injury of some sort, build up pressure, and explode like a person who finally erupts after stuffing anger for too long.
“Is that what might have made it move out of the frame?” I persisted.
“That’s ridiculous! Impossible,” my dear husband said. “You don’t understand how it works.”
True. I don’t understand how it doesn’t work — and fails — either.
I’m still trying to understand how a properly functioning shower door — perfect when last used — could get off track on its own.
But I digress.
Here’s what happened:
It was a Friday. I’d taken precious vacation hours to add the final touches to our renovated bathroom: wooden towel racks I’d refinished all by my lonesome.
I’d found the studs. Measured and leveled and drawn penciled lines. Purposefully marred the pristine plaster and paint replacing our 1990s-vintage wallpaper.
Steve and I were both ready for these final touches to move us out of the guest bathroom into full use of our master bath.
He had drill in hand to prepare the site for the secure installation of racks so strong they could hold the elderly version of ourselves should we reach out to support our bodies rather than grab a towel some day.
But, instead of finishing the bathroom, I made the fateful mistake of noticing the flaw.
“How did the door get off track?” I asked.
Indeed, the frameless glass door hung by its wheels in the upper track, but the bottom glass was outside the polished nickel frame.
“Let me fix it,” my handyman husband said, putting down his drill. I stepped out of his way, over the refinished towel racks and his trusty toolbox on the bathmat. I knew he could handle this small interruption delaying the realization of our goal.
But instead of instant success, a shocking explosion met his gentle grasp — now of only air.
After the shock and awe
We stood still. Paralyzed. We waited for the glass dust to settle as we tried to make sense of what had happened. Steve broke our silence.
“Go get some large pieces of cardboard so I can walk out of here,” he instructed.
I sprang into action. I could feel splintered glass even in between my thick socks and Crocs, but Steve was barefoot.
Once I’d created a cardboard path for him, he exited. I’d brought with me gloves, a whisk broom, and dustpan — and my phone so I could document the incident with photos.
But before I could shoot any, Adam called. I explained our situation to my youngest and then held the phone toward the debris — not so he could see it but so he could listen.
“Do you hear that?”
Even minutes after the explosion, the glass was making sounds — hissing like air leaving a punctured bicycle tire, tinkling as the glass decompressed and moved against the tile floor.
I felt fear move onto me, too, replacing the initial shock, as I contemplated nearing the remaining door to remove the debris. My breath stuck in my chest. An overwhelming panic threatened to undo me. How could I do this?
Replace fear with truth
“God protected us,” Steve said, suddenly appearing behind me. He paused to survey the damage and scattered crystals. “It could have been a lot worse.”
He’d cleaned away the glass and blood from his arms and legs, and he looked no worse for the experience we’d had. Behind him were the Shop Vac and a second trash can he’d brought.
I was equipped for this job in more ways than one.
“Praise God,” I agreed, now seeing His goodness amidst the glass.
I still had to squat before the remaining shower door to remove glass from the floor. Still had to slip beside the door to clean inside the shower stall. Still had to remove glass from the very track in which this potential bomb threat resided.
But like the glass at my feet, Steve’s reminder of God’s goodness shattered my fear.
In the ‘shadow of death’…
So instead of entertaining anxious thoughts, I rehearsed God’s goodness to me, recalling as I so often do, Psalm 23. I reminded myself of David’s Good Shepherd — who not only makes me lie down in green pastures but also is with me when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Or the shadow of a shower door whose twin just exploded.
With such thoughts, I swept and dumped, swept and dumped, and, finally, used the Shop Vac to remove the dust and particles remaining on the tile, the toilet, and the carpet path I’d traveled, marked by sparkling shards of glass.
But God’s goodness to me is beautiful. It isn’t a guarantee of my safety, I know. But I feel courageous because I know He is with me, even in the shadows.
The Psalmist went on to say this: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6, ESV).
Why? Because He is with me all the days of my life. His goodness follows me — even closer than that imposing shower door. His goodness is evident even in the “two steps forward, one step back” frustration this room renovation has become. Even in this long stop so close to the finish line. 🙄
For now, we wait. (In our guest bathroom, no less.) The intact shower door remains the potentially explosive elephant in the room as we await a verdict from the manufacturer. Will they pay to replace the doors? Or will they blame the installer? Or us?
The refinished towel racks — now with fresh scratches — are piled on my husband’s counter and sink. We don’t want to hang them where they might be in the way when the existing door is removed and new installed.
Plus, the vibrations of the drill might be enough to set off the temper of this second piece of tempered glass.
I don’t like waiting, but I really don’t like angry glass. Whether it’s a Corelle cereal bowl — or a sliding shower door.
One thought on “When Fear Threatens, Remembering God’s Goodness Can Give You Courage”
Sara, I can relate to the anxiousness in your heart. Thank you for the reminder that even in the scariest moments, God is still there. Just like you did for Steve, God will provide a path for us too, if we only ask!