It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon. Cliche, really. I was sprawled out on my bed, finishing up Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love (soo good, you guys!), when I heard it – a weird, giant sucking noise, followed by a loud gurgle. Um, what?! That’s strange, I thought. Maybe if I pretend it didn’t happen, I won’t have to deal with it, I thought (Maturity 101). No other noises came. On with my book. I was a happy camper.
Until, of course, I walked into my bathroom maybe 10 minutes later and saw nasty, dirty water seeping up out of my shower drain. Caught between “This is so GROSS” and “Oh my gosh, what if it fills the entire shower and leaks over onto the bathroom floor?!”, I did what any other 24 year old does and called my dad, freaking out.
Turns out if you live in a somewhat older house who’s pipes haven’t been cleaned out recently, and are running a dishwasher, washing machine, and someone showers simultaneously, bad things happen. BAD THINGS, PEOPLE. Waiting on a plumber, with a nasty shower filled of I-don’t-really-want-to-know, is not fun. Not being able to shower for who knows how long is not fun. Okay, I actually don’t shower that
often, thanks to #Malawiliving (TMI for the public internet? Whatevs). But just having the option taken away felt a little cruel. This is America!
Land of running water, grande mochas, and drive-thru Mexican food. If I can get McDonalds breakfast all day, I should be able to shower
at any point in the day. Cue flashbacks to the midst of hot season, cursing the Malawi Water Board, using baby wipes like there was no tomorrow. Eish.
If you never clean out the gunk in your life, it comes up at rather unfortunate times – like when you’re doing too much at once: washing machine, shower, dish washer. Like when you spend a lifetime brushing things off, instead of feeling the pain, and you find yourself blowing up at a friend over a harmless joke. Like when you use new relationships as band-aids for past, unresolved issues and yet they keep rearing their ugly head. Like when you decide not to grieve the losses in your life and all of a sudden find you can’t celebrate the gains, either.
Not dealing with things actually isn’t a solution. Washing it all down might make it disappear, for a season, but it’s still there. Cleaning out your life might take work, it might take effort – but it’s worth it. That way, when the going gets tough (as it’s bound to), the gunk won’t get flowing.
Which is exactly why we called a plumber over! Our pipes are super clogged, help. Drain it, clean it, do whatever you need to, I would like to shower, please. Except that they came back with this fun tidbit: your pipes have roots in them.
Growing up in the church, I always thought of roots as a good thing. Be rooted. Grow roots. Rooted in love. All that jazz – roots were a sign of growth, of grounded-ness, of faith. Roots are good! Except when they aren’t.
I’m learning that if you have roots in unhealthy things, in the wrong places, they are actually detrimental. Roots in shame, roots in jealously. Roots in self doubt or pride or un-forgiveness. Roots in your house’s pipes. Roots can mess up your life, if you’re rooted in the wrong places.
Roots for a tree to grow strong? Great. I’m all about it.
Roots blocking my drains? Mmmm, not so much.
I’m now more aware of the lies I’ve claimed as truth, of the unhealthy areas I’ve put roots in. I’m learning to weed out the falsehoods, to see these problem areas. It’s a process. Sure, there will be times when I’m still doing too much, and I reach a blockage – suddenly I’m making a mess everywhere. Spilling gunk into every part of my life, into other people’s lives (oops. Sorry, friends!). But I’m working on cleaning it out, on de-rooting, on that happening less often. I’m working on healthy roots – in love and grace and community and acceptance. I want to see the life that grows out of those roots. I want to see how my life changes, being rooted in goodness.
I finally got to wash my hair. Our drains actually drain once again. My life is looking a little less hectic, thankfully. I’m not living in constant fear of gunk seeping onto the bathroom floor every time I want to wash my hands.
I’m also thinking about the areas in my life that I’ve simply washed away problems without dealing with them, places I’ve brushed pain down the drain rather than feeling it. I’m re-examining where I’ve put roots down in life. I’m thinking about tearing up a few. I’m trying to avoid gunk.