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My house flooded – I arrived back from an outstanding Arizona vacation at 8 pm. My ground floor was flooded ….. from a leak in the icemaker water line in the refrigerator (the water-ice filter just broke in two). Although my feelings were numb, I was driven to mop up all the water – and this took four hours. I called the insurance company at 1 am. The accident was what in Australia is called a fluke. If I had been at home when the leak began, I would have caught it and stopped it. But I was out of town when it happened!

Gutted kitchen (click to enlarge then hit back arrow to go back).

Gutted kitchen (click to enlarge then hit back arrow to go back).

The restoration company came the next day. They gutted the walls, threw out the cabinets, and ripped up the laminate floor. Then they set up 10 air blowers to blast air at the wet locations. The house took five days to dry out, but my prized exotic hardwood floor remained seriously damaged. I cried and wandered through the mess like a zombie. I felt pretty low that week and was sorely depressed on a couple days.

But one day that week, my house cleaner came in and rearranged furniture so I could get to my TV and sit and watch in the evenings. This helped. I found just by talking with her I felt better. She reminded me not to feel sorry for myself, because I wasn’t hurt physically, and my insurance would cover most of the loss. She told her brother, and he called later that day, and offered to come over and move things, and even offered a bedroom to stay in.

Removal of water-soaked wall (click to enlarge)

Removal of water-soaked wall (click to enlarge)

The second week was a mental struggle to examine the insurance company’s accounting of what they would pay. And to find estimators to come in to bid on replacing the lost and damaged stuff from everything that had been flooded. At the height of frustration I slammed my fist against the wall, and swore at the situation.

A friend came later and urged me to look at the positives. I said “What positives?” She said I could consider this an opportunity to renovate my ground floor. She also confirmed some tile that I suggested to replace the laminate flooring, and this helped. With this visit, my attitude turned a corner.

My brother said with sensitivity, “Sometimes you just have to smile and go on”.

Another friend at lunch suggested I call a home improvement guy from her church, who gave me valuable advice on hardwood flooring. This relieved significant stress.

Next day yet another friend came and evaluated the tiling options I had picked out, and came up with a good solution. She was generous with her time, as she has been quite unwell for over two weeks.

Living room stacked (click to enlarge).

Living room stacked (click to enlarge).

A friend who had moved from Houston into her new home this very week, offered me a bedroom and her laundry.

Many others – family and friends – have called to sympathize. Their moral support boosted my spirits.

Takeaways:
• These people helped me to hope! They offered and assisted in various ways, and this was huge! Two weeks after my house flooded, the stress of being out of control has gone now and I feel pretty positive once again. Thank you, and all the other well-wishers from far away.

• My previous blog was about the concept of thanking God for a problem. To be frank, I couldn’t thank God FOR this problem. But I could thank him IN this problem.
• In the middle of my house being flooded, I find myself thanking God for many things: the drive and strength to mop up all the water; the insurance company who got the restoration people over the next day, and who have covered most of the costs; the friends who stepped up with tangible advice and help.

• Last this experience has made me more grateful for opportunities to help others to hope (of which God has given me several in recent months).
• And has made me more sensitive…… God, I pray particularly for those I know who are hurting or feel out of control, and have much greater difficulties than this one. And I pray that I may be open and motivated to reach out to help wherever I can.

Just a portion of my prized hardwood floor from Brazil covered by an eighth of an inch of water (click to enlarge).

Just a portion of my prized hardwood floor from Brazil covered by an eighth of an inch of water (click to enlarge).

Post-Script: Why did I write the book Weed and Water?
I am a scientist….actually a physicist who has spent years studying cosmic rays and fracking. I have a granddaughter who is 16, and a grandson who is 13. They are in the challenging years, so I chose to write about the lure of sex and drugs (call it Weed). These kids also know about faith in God (call it Water). I wanted to write about the tension within many teenagers as they are sucked back and forth by the Weed and the Water.

In this case the Water is offered by a mysterious figure who rescues a boy and his mentor from drowning. The mystery is multiplied when the figure returns again and again to provide wisdom to the teenager at his lowest ebb. I have always been fascinated by the intersection of science and faith. Especially when in a pub in Ireland a native claimed with astonishment that he knew no other scientists who had an active faith. So I wanted to write about the positives of doing science and knowing the God of faith.

Last, all my life I have been an adventurer, and I wanted to include in this book a canoeing accident on a flooded river, a hike to find petroglyphs in the badlands of New Mexico, hiding from a tornado in an underground shelter in Kansas, and water-moccasins while water-skiing.

What’s the takeaway here? Teens are influenced by outside forces: peer-pressure (wanting to be cool and popular), sports heroes, rock stars, parents, the church, et cetera. The choices teens make can land them in a swamp or in a garden. The book explores the choices made by a star high-school athlete…..for good and for bad. It’s a story of pain and hurt…..inflicted on the boy and by the boy on his mother, a single parent struggling to do her best. Furthermore, it’s a story of hope in the possibility of redemption. Simply stated it’s the role of God who takes a special interest in the boy from Albuquerque.
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The Gray Nomad.
Probing the practice of Christian believers……

Quote found on a bulletin board in a United Methodist church in Tucson, Arizona (click to enlarge).

Quote found on a bulletin board in a United Methodist church in Tucson, Arizona (click to enlarge).

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5 Responses to My house flooded in Albuquerque! What’s the takeaway?

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  2. Ian, this is the best yet. Thank you for your willingness to share the good times and the bad times which we all have.
    The words lifted my spirit and gave me hope that good does come from the hard things in our life. Keep sharing because you touch our hearts and give hope when things do not make sense.

    • Ha! In your well-chosen words Marlene, you pressed a button that many of us have to wrestle with. “When things don’t make sense” could easily have been “When God doesn’t make sense”. In cases like this we have to find hope in friends and family, the brains and energy God has given us, and a larger perspective (we in the USA live so well compared with half the world who live from hand-to-mouth). One more key I think is in the midst of a disaster to reach out to help someone else to hope (which is really tough to do). As a Christian, all these things I lump together under the resources of God.

  3. Another glance ~ being thankful IN the turmoil.
    They gave you a hopeful outlook.
    Did you cancel your visit from your family?

    • Yes Vanessa, I had to cancel the visit by the g-kids during their spring break. I missed them, especially y-day when I hiked to an outstanding Anasazi site and petroglyphs, which they would have loved.

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