Last night while it rained outside, water began flooding into the basement where my wife and I live. (Some good friends have let us stay in their well-furnished basement apartment for free while we're on leave from China for six months.) The water began coming in more and more quickly, puddling and pooling and then working its way across the floor. Together with Caleb and Beth (our 'landlords') we fought it valiantly with towels and a carpet steam cleaner for some hours.
To ravage a little Lewis Carroll: We fought it with thimbles, we fought it with care; we pursued it with forks and hope.
The fight against the water lasted from about 11:00pm last night to almost 5:00am early this morning. We kept it from rising enough to ruin the furniture. We soaked up and sucked up between 100 and 150 gallons of dirty water. But I was blessed by Beth and Caleb's calm, matter-of-fact approach to the disaster. They knew they might have to replace their wood-flooring they just put down last year. They had to go out and spend almost two hundred bucks on shop-vacs and other supplies. But they just accepted it, worked at it, rolled with the punches. The night ended up being fun. We were comrades in the fight, and somehow it was meaningful. The two pizzas we cooked up at 3:00am and 4:30am didn't hurt either. But what I'm saying is there wasn't angst, tears, agony, or hair-pulling. What could have been a traumatic event became a blessing. We handled it together. We'll work it out one way or the other.
Reminds me of a verse from Hebrews 10:
You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
These people had their hard-earned possessions unfairly confiscated by bullies or by the government of that day because they were Christians. But they took it calmly, even joyfully. One translation I think says they took it "cheerfully."
I think they could do that because they were keeping it in perspective. They knew which things were really important, and really lasting, and they didn't get hung up on temporary losses and painful setbacks here and now. I was blessed by Beth and Caleb's response last night. I hope I can gain that roll-up-the-sleeves cheerful approach to life's many troubles as well.