A few years back we had some water heater problems. The tankless water heater we’d put in when the house was built worked well for about 12 years. However, we began noticing that our water wasn’t getting quite hot enough. We limped along for a while as I tried a few things to get our water hot again. More than once I thought I had the problem fixed, but it would only last a few days and then the water was back to lukewarm.
I finally called a real plumber and was told we needed a new water heater. I decided to order a new tankless water heater and try to install it myself (pride can do that to a man). When the new water heater arrived I took out the old one and tried to install the new one. I couldn’t do it.
The piping didn’t match up to the new water heater and I didn’t know how to deal with copper piping. I called the plumber again and he gave me the bad news. He was booked solid for the next week. Now instead of having tepid and cold water we had only cold water (it felt like snow melt!).
Debbie and the kids bailed and used the tub and shower next door at my in-laws. Believing I was made of tougher stuff, I decided I could brave the cold water. I have always liked, in a sort of twisted way, taking a cold water plunge in a lake or stream. I still end my showers with a 30 second cold water splash. The momentary shock to my system is invigorating.
However, this was different. Stepping into a cold shower when there is no prospect of hot water takes a certain brand of commitment. It was a commitment to clean that I began to question in myself as the week went on. Ice cream headaches in the morning were hard to subject myself to on a daily basis. The icy cold was quickly losing its charm. Yet, my stubborn commitment to stick it out did not waver. A week later the plumber finally arrived and the hot water was restored. It was quite a while before I resumed my morning cold water splash. Now I know that not having hot water in the house was a small inconvenience, but isn’t it the small inconveniences that often get to us? Do you find yourself losing your cool over the little things? Could it be that the little inconveniences that life throws our way are really just opportunities to practice keeping our cool? Is there a certain amount of toughening up that we need to allow in our lives so that when the truly difficult things in our life come along (and they will) we will know how to persevere? I think so, but Lord, cold showers are hard in the morning!
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”