Sometimes we Nichols have those times where things go completely crazy – everything falls on top of everything else, and we get flipped up, spun around and dumped back on our bums. I’ve learnt to just get through it a day at a time, and not to have a hissy fit because a slower day will eventually come.
We’d had a few days of upsetting events then on the Friday evening, our shower started leaking sewage water. GRIM. We phoned the plumber and moved out of our bedroom. Our house is at the bottom of a gentle slope. So when everyone uphill started waking up, flushing toilets, hosing down their braii’s or whatever, our main bathroom also began to flood – it started coming out into the hall, across thresholds, down bedroom floorboards…. our home HONKED.
The plumber came and went – the manhole cover was nowhere to be seen – could it be under the drive? Had it been paved over? Another plumber came later and also couldn’t help. It was an issue for the council, and they were estimating a 48 hour call out time (plus it was bank holiday weekend).
The boys were out somewhere and I took Evie to the event of the year in Bloemfontein – The Bloem Show. I was looking at things like this:
It felt a bit like I was on drugs. My phone was pinging non-stop as the next day we were meant to be hosting our first baptism and a lunch. There was a lot to re-arrange. And where was the manhole – under our house?? And would we all need to move out? The girl getting baptised was un-contactable in Lesotho. The boys were who-knows-where. I told them to just stay where they were. There were 9 of us who might need beds.
While I was HQ on my phone at the show, our Dutch friend Jan was mopping and being Colin’s friend that day. Jan is a psychiatric nurse so not a lot phases him – even mopping up poop. Colin’s mix of engineering/ lateral thinking/ tenacity was also saving the day. Together they connected some irrigation pipes, found the manhole, and created a vacuum to draw the water out of the hole, and down the drive into the street rather than into the house. DON’T ASK how Colin created that vacuum. (GAG.)
As the sewerage flowed, so did ‘the jokes. What a ‘shituation’…. ‘Joy in the Shitty’…. !!
So our house went into lock-down and we scattered across Bloem for a couple of nights – Isaac was with some people I’ve never even met. They own some sort of equestrian centre so they must be OK, right? The Dutch friends moved out to a B&B. The next day we had the baptism at a different venue and I felt like broken glass inside, and didn’t manage to chat much to the visitors. Colin and I were meant to be going away that night for the first time in ages, but instead our house was leaking SH*T. Not just any old poop, but OTHER PEOPLES’!! I was so grateful to have a giggle about hair-do’s though with one of our younger girls. Sometimes all we need is to talk about hair for a bit.
Since that time, Evie had a few days off ill then Isaac broke his toe and had a wire put into the bone. It was quite horrible wheeling him down to theatre. Like I said, it’s just one of ‘those times’.
But here’s my God Story about the weekend.
When I was at the Bloem Show I texted my friend Becky and she sent a picture back of her folks praying for us in the UK. Valerie and Dennis always pray for us, and in response to today’s news, they sent back a scripture.
“When the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him.” In other words, ‘God will have the last laugh’. I believed those words and the photo made me weep, but I couldn’t imagine what it would actually look like for the Lord to ‘raise a standard up’ in this situation.
I am so happy to be able to tell you what it looked like. The friend getting baptised came back from Lesotho, and went ahead with her plan. What joy – it was a really lovely day.
It turns out she has a boyfriend in the USA who works in drainage. She KNEW PEOPLE and she arranged for them to come that very afternoon: the Sunday afternoon! They had their big tank thing and specialist equipment – the pipe that can bore down through the drains. Leanor herself works in surveying!! What are the chances? She came round to our house straight after getting baptised and waving off her visitors. The girl we baptised ended up directed operations and rescuing us: she knows all about drain systems!! And can you believe it, in the middle of this we actually went away together! When we left, there were some 10 people all gathered around our drive, all waiting for each other for lifts or something – nobody really knew. The plumbers were working with Leanor, jumping over the neighbours fences and setting off an alarm. We just grabbed our toothbrushes and left, mainly because the Dutch people practically manhandled us into the car. Once we hit the road we heard that the blockage had been found and cleared. Wow.
And when we got back, our house had been cleaned up – by people in the church! Jabu mainly, who lives with us, and Kevin the window cleaner from Bromley who’s only been here a week. How’s that for God having the last laugh? (He tends to use people. Of course… silly me. Somebody tell Valerie and Dennis.)
It was like stepping into another world, arriving at the place we visited. I tease my friend Rach because everything in her house is white, and if things aren’t white then they’re behind cupboard doors that are white. I love her house very much, but personally I am more into colour. But when we arrived at this place last Sunday I immediately decided I also love white. It was clean, serene and so….. WHITE, as if somebody had designed it only for us, for that exact day, in those exact circumstances. So much care and attention was evident, for example when breakfast arrived there was a little flower on top, I actually cried – ha haaa!! Colin couldn’t not giggle and I don’t blame him. It’s a first – to blub over a breakfast.
For the first time in over a year I felt like writing a poem. If you’d like to read it, here it is. Last swear word I promise…
Little white room
Small and so neat
Away from the faeces
Of the whole street.
Serene little space
Flowers smell sweet
Where thoughts can be thought
And two friends can meet.
Tears even flow
Over breakfast so pretty,
Seems like a dream now,
Our bedroom all shitty.
Sparkling white igloo
A hand-made cocoon.
Pure and serene,
So love can bloom.
Cosy white nest,
Feathered with care
Taking our brokenness,
Mending us there.
Leaving for home now
To clear up the poo,
We thank you white room,
We’ll not forget you,
For when we get home
And money comes through,
We’ll build a white bedroom
Exactly like you.