Over the last couple of months, it seemed like our house was falling apart. It started our bedroom doors sticking on the second level. Then, cracks started to move through the paint around the door frames. A few weeks later and I noticed the floor was becoming uneven. A little bit of research and I was stressed. Everything pointed to a foundation problem. Yikes! That costs thousands of dollars and can greatly decrease the value of your home.
The next morning, as my family was rushing out the door, I ran down to the furnace room to grab something I had stashed behind the door. To my dismay, I found water on the floor. Not much....just a few drops, but enough for me to look up and realize that a copper pipe was leaking. Argh. Frustration rushed over me as I realized yet another thing in our house was breaking.
The next day, I called a general contractor friend who came over and fixed the pipe. While he was working, he noticed the pipe coming from the water heater was jammed up against it, strained almost to the point of bursting. He explained that basements in our area needed to be "floating" or built in such a way that the floor can rise and fall without putting pressure on the structure. Our floor had risen, but was now butting the water heater up right against the pipes. That led to me showing him the sticky doors and cracking walls.
Immediately, he knew the problem. Although the framing in my basement had been done correctly, the previous owners had hung drywall all the way to the floor. The floor was lifting, but was stopped by the drywall, which in turn was now lifting our entire house. Without a remedy, the pressure could cause burst pipes, structural damage, broken floors, etc. The possibilities were endless and baffling.
It was then that I realized the miracle of the leaking pipe. Because of that, I called a contractor and he, in turn, solved a much bigger problem. He showed me how to easily solve the problem that was causing so many other problems throughout our house. Just cut the dry wall 3 inches above the floor, the way it was supposed to be hung in the first place. With that, the house should settle back down. Caught when it was, it didn't do any permanent structural damage. Phew!
As he left, I felt relief and chagrined. I had been so upset when I found the pipe. Yet, it was the pipe that saved my house. It was a blessing, not a curse. I thought about how many times I had done that in my life. How many times did I fail to realize that my trials may actually be my greatest blessings?
Last night, I saw a dateline segment on Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who's arm was taken by a shark when she was 13. A tragedy, yes. But, she declared she would never go back and erase that day. It ended up being her greatest blessing.
Easy to say in retrospect, of course, but this week was a gentle reminder to live as if every trial was a blessing, a gift from God to bless us and lift us to higher heights.
I hope I've learned my lesson. That simple shift in attitude sure seems to make life easier.