Thursday night, the weather here was wild. Severe thunderstorms were responsible for a lot of damage all over the Midwest, and in our area, we had a deluge of rain and lightening that caused power outages for thousands. At midnight, I had given up the idea of sleep with the crashing thunder and lightning (how can men and kids sleep through that?) and was camped out in the family room watching our local station’s weather warnings. There was a huge crash of lightning, and then the power went off. Wearily, I went to hunt down some candles and flashlights and added some elegance to the stormy night by sticking a long white taper into a crystal candle stand I found while groping around in the dining room. Nobody in the else in the house stirred as I listened to the wind howling and the rain pelting the windows and watched the flickering flame of my candle. Nobody stirred, that is, until about two hours later when I heard the basement door open and our son Jonathan emerged from his lower level bedroom. “Mom, the basement is flooding! The water is at least four inches deep already.”
When the power went out for two hours, the sump pump couldn’t work and the water came right in. It was a depressing sight as Tom and the boys sloshed around what had been our nice, dry basement with their flashlights, trying to figure out where to begin. Jon’s two computers were ruined. Books on the lower shelves of bookcases were ruined, trumpet cases (a lot of trumpet cases, let me tell you) were full of water. The electricity came back on at 4am, and the sump pump sucked out the standing water, but the damage was done.
The next day after hauling out 30 dripping trumpet cases from the basement and putting them in the garage, we spent a couple of hours calling all the water damage restoration places we could find in the yellow pages. We had waited too long. They were all booked up for days because of the widespread damage in our area.
Because mold starts growing in damp basements within 48 hours, we knew we couldn’t wait. We finally stopped and prayed that we would find somebody with a hole in their schedule who could help us with the damage and wet carpets. The Lord graciously answered, and we found a small family-run business only 10 minutes away that was happy to help. They came and began with giant fans and humidifiers and are returning Monday after we have cleared everything out of the basement so they can remove the wet drywall, paneling and carpet. We were really grateful.
Our neighbor lady called. They had thousands of dollars of damage in their basement which had recently been completely redone. With a foot of water, it was a complete disaster. We were commiserating about the details when she said, “But you know, Ingrid, we have a relative we have to go see tonight at the hospital. They are removing his life support, and we have to say our good-byes. He has advanced lung cancer that was only recently discovered and his family is devastated. We have to keep all of this in perspective.”
This wise older woman was looking at her “disaster” with exactly the right attitude. In the end, it’s just stuff. We get things in life, we lose things in life. The sun shines and we work hard, and in one stormy evening, our work is laid waste. That’s the nature of life in this fallen world. After that conversation, I swallowed my disappointment over the nursery not being ready and having this very large restoration project messing up the home I was trying to get organized. Baby Schlueter won’t know the difference if her room isn’t ready, tucked away in her little bassinet. With the Lord’s help, we’ll get things fixed. I told Tom that this gives us a new opportunity to get rid of a lot of things we were storing for no real reason. I had a wise grandmother, Mary Thomas, who lived through the Great Depression and innumerable hardships in raising her eight children. One of her frequent lines was, “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.” In other words, don’t get too upset about any one thing. In the end, it will be OK. I know Grandma was right.
My wonderful sister-in-law, Kris, packed a suitcase after she heard about our basement blues and has been driving up from Oklahoma to help us finish clearing out the rest of the basement this weekend before the workers come Monday. She’ll be here in an hour or so. I was so grateful, I could have cried when I heard that. That kind of help is a blessing straight from the Lord. Son Charlie, who lives on his own, showed up today out of the blue and is outside mowing the grass for us as his way of helping. That was another happy surprise.
Whenever I look at the things piled around the house and get discouraged, I remind myself of Grandma Thomas’s quiet words. “Don’t worry. It’ll all work out!”
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
–I Thessalonians 5:18