“Hey mom, something’s dripping.”
I followed my son’s voice to the living room and saw that the pool of water that had formed on the ledge of our Palladian window was waterfalling down the window frame and splashing onto the hardwood floor. Outside, raindrops slapped onto the glass and the wind whooshed through the opening that betrayed the dry warmth of our house. I got some towels and mopped up the water, stuffed one into the leak, and instructed the kids to continue getting ready for school. This would have to wait; it would soon be time to go.
Later, a couple of internet searches revealed a few things. The leak fix would most likely not be costly, amounting to little more than a line of silicone caulking around the outside of the window. I exhaled in relief. I imagined tens of thousands of dollars in window replacements, black mold, the façade of our house crumbling. I am nothing if not a little theatrical. This was feasible. Most troublesome was that the fix could only be applied when the rain stopped, and it was forecasted to continue all day.
Through the next several hours the leak got worse, and I thought of the truth that water will find a path of least resistance and continue until the source stops, creating something new in the process. I thought of wide river beds, stalactites, the Grand Canyon. What would happen here?
I wadded up more towels to stem the flow and put the now wet ones in the dryer. My mild alarm about the leak turned to fear. What do I do? I can’t stop the rain. My feelings surged. I was scared, confused about what to do, and angry.
My husband was out of town for work on the other side of the country. Although he maintains that traveling for work is not as glamorous as it seems, the idea that he was sleeping in a warm hotel room, all of his needs taken care of, meals served and bed made, and it was even warm and sunny there, for the love of everything holy, made me jealous and angry. He wasn’t dealing with this. He never dealt with this. These things always happen when he’s conveniently away, peacefully oblivious and blissfully unable to help.
Hateful thoughts mingled with the fearful prayers I hastily threw God’s way. Please stop this rain. Please help me do this.
The next hour was spent hauling our impossibly heavy metal ladder out of the garage, locating a roll of plastic sheeting, trying to figure out how to attach it to the outside of our stone-covered house in the driving wind and rain, finally using the flat edge of a screwdriver to push the plastic into the crack that I could now see was the culprit. The wind threatened to blow me off my slippery perch, and as I braced myself, soaked in jeans, boots, and a winter coat, my hands red and raw, I was determined.
Obscenities and declarations of “I hate everything” filled the texts I wrote to my husband later to tell him what was going on. It was early morning where he was. I imagined his sleepy face, his calm walk to the shower, to breakfast, to golf – whatever it was he would be doing that day, only being concerned with himself. I hated the rain, our house, the stupid window, his job, my life.
I was an awful sinner that day.
My anger found the path of least resistance, and it spilled out into my thoughts, my words, my behavior. I was not gracious, or peaceful, or calm, or Jesus-y. Those things were too hard. It was easier being jealous, hateful, and angry. Like a trickle of water eventually carving a wide riverbed, anger was transforming me into a nasty, mean person.
At the end of that day, I was exhausted. But the beauty of life is changing perspective: the house did not crumble, and the water slowed down enough so that I could keep ahead of it. It was not supposed to rain heavily for the next few days, allowing our house to dry out so that I could seal the crack. I humbly asked for forgiveness then, and I know God absolved me of my sins, just as he promised he would through Jesus’ sacrifice, just as he promises he will for the rest of my life.
I feel bad about my attitude that day – a terrible consequence of sin is the memory of it. It haunts us, reminding us of how low we can go. But God forgives, and despite my sin, my path of least resistance, he has healed me and wiped me clean with the blood of Jesus. I am so grateful. My work is in trying to do better next time, in sinning no more.
Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (The Message)
Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8: 9-11 (ESV)