: relating to what is real rather than to what is possible or imagined
: likely to succeed and reasonable to do or use
: appropriate or suited for actual use
I had to begin with that definition. “Relating to what is REAL rather than what is possible or imagined.” That is perfect. My son is what I call a “practical learner”…he has to touch the grill to see if it’s hot. He learns things in a very personal way. He doesn’t want to imagine. He doesn’t want a concept. He has to know in a practical manner that the matter in question is real. “Appropriate or suited for actual use”.
Let me tell you how God prepared me for this day. I woke up yesterday at 4am to a clamor and loud whining and howling noises coming from down the hall. It was our puppy. He is six months old and just had his appointment with destiny…well, maybe not destiny; but it was a doctor who neuters little rambunctious doggies like himself. His surgery went well, but the meds were causing him some intestinal distress. Without painting a disgusting portrait of the gruesome crime scene I encountered, I will tell you that the digestive pyrotechnics as a result of his pain meds were painfully obvious…on the wall, in his crate, on the floor…you get the picture. My morning began on my knees. Scrubbing. As the day wore on, I had a rendezvous with more poo and cleaner on a number of occasions. There was a torrential downpour yesterday, so while I was cleaning the pup had to be put out in the rain. He didn’t care for that one bit so he got into some garbage outside and happily peppered the lawn with little tiny pieces of shredded, wet cardboard box. After I cleaned the inside…I moved to the outside. In the pouring rain I talked to God.
“God, ‘hate’ is such a strong word…but I think I hate this dog today. Am I allowed to say that? I know he can’t help it but I really can’t stand him right now. God help me with this dog. Help me to not lose my cool.”
I went inside…soaking wet and cold. As I walked down the hall to change out of my wet clothes I smelled it. He had gone into our daughter’s room and done it again. (sigh) The first thing out of my mouth, “I hate this dog”.
After dinner and bath time, we settled down in the basement for some family time. It had been pouring buckets all day long so I decided to wander over to the unfinished side of the basement to check on the sump pump. When I opened the door, I smelled it…it was subtle, but evident. I smelled sewage. I inspected the basement and came up empty. I was empty, too. I was so discouraged. After a whole day cleaning up after this dog this is NOT what I wanted to even imagine. Even on a perfect day, this is not what I wanted to imagine. I felt defeated. Worn. But, at that hour there was nothing that could be done.
This morning, I made the calls I needed to make to address the issue. A truly wonderful woman at church works for a company who deals with septic tanks and issues. The owner came out and looked into our problems (quite literally) and the news was grim. Our septic system is failing. We have watched year after year, neighbor after neighbor…as backhoes were digging and gravel was pouring. It would seem that the septic systems were not installed properly and the repercussions of faulty and haphazard work have been seen and felt throughout the neighborhood over the past ten years. It is what it is, right? I can’t change the fact that the builder didn’t do a good job. I can’t change the fact that the home was built facing the wrong direction according to the plans and that directly affects the way the septic functions. I can’t change the fact that our system is failing. My hands are tied.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
In years past, I would spend this evening awake. It would be a sleepless night filled with number crunching and Google searches. In spite of the magnitude of this situation…the cost involved…the inconvenience of short showers, limited laundry and paper plates…I am totally at peace. This peace is very real and not imagined. It’s not “mind over matter”. It’s not a concept for peace that is “appropriate and suited for actual use”. This is the real deal in motion…not in theory.
As I sit here typing this, I am still in awe. God has lead us through much worse and He never fails. So, tonight, I thank God for laying out this path for me. It may not be a desirable situation, but I can see God in it. And whatever I have learned or received or heard from Him, or seen in Him will be put into practice. The peace of God is with me.