OK, I agree, that seems an absurd question, but there is a lesson to be found in everything.
We were doing fine; the septic system was doing what it did—until it didn’t. No one expected the failure; it had been quietly working behind the scenes contributing to the smooth operation of everyday life. The breakdown was catastrophic and sudden: one day it worked—one day it didn’t.
The breakdown was a “wound” in every aspect of our parish life. We were consumed with understanding the problem, addressing the immediate needs, seeking a professional to help, planning a remedy, and waiting for repair. Going through this process meant added expenses, time lost/dedicated away from other planned endeavors, and many consultations and reflections on what had happened and how we were addressing it.
Last week, after months of waiting, in one single day, the massive repair was begun and completed—almost. Where there was once sidewalk and grass there is now make-shift pallet walkways and mulch But the planning and waiting are over—we are “back in business.” The repair was successful, but the scar of the work that was done will be with us for a long time, forever in fact. Our system runs fine now, but the effort to get things fixed took its toll and, in fact, it isn’t over. We will need to revisit the work in 3 months to complete the site repair, and from now on we will need to conduct regular maintenance on the new system (necessity of the changes that were made).
So, it seems the comparison of the septic repair and our personal healing isn’t so absurd after all. In truth my point is not the comparison, it is rather that inspiration in response to pain and “likeness” to our fears and worries exist all around us. God has provided for us by gifting us with imaginations that are much more that a lens to augment super hero movies. Our imaginations make it possible for us to see beyond the mundane and forgettable and to focus on the beautiful and inspiring.
Once we have been wounded, we often emotionally flee from the event, even in our memories. We struggle to not remember because we don’t want to live there--in the pain; but it stays with us forever, a scar that signals and a sign we can’t ignore. God would have us confront this fear and embrace what must be done, to see it for what it was and to live into “it” today. We cannot fix it alone, we need a professional to help, God has volunteered to work with us and we, in grateful loving response, take on the responsibility of tending the needs of the “system”—our lives.
I will never be able to, nor would I want to, walk past the new leach field without thinking of the glory and grace of God. The power of love and the provision of the Holy Spirit to help me embrace Jesus, the Shepherd of my soul, is mercifully presented in every event and through each encounter of my life. I only pray that I will never overlook God’s reminders of divine presence, the beautiful and inspiring in everything I see.
Joy in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†