Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The parable of the septic tank

Last week was a mess. Jimmy and I noticed a spot on the church property that was wet and kinda weird. There was a perfect dome of grass with water leaking out one side. When I touched it with my foot, the dome wavered like gelatin or a water bed. Jimmy said, “This is the part in the horror movie when we run...” It smelled clean so we decided it was probably run off from the parking lot cause we’d had a lot of rain lately.

It didn’t go away. Then it started to look gray. With sinking hearts, on monday of last week we decided to check the septic clean outs. Unscrewing one lid we found standing water in one. Unscrewing the next one down, it exploded in a varitable fireworks display of things that are supposed to go down into the septic tank. We couldn’t believe it! Either we had a broken line or the tank was full and overflowing and nobody has been able to locate the tank for quite some time.

We set ourselves to the task though and God met us. Within hours, someone had rented us a little back hoe and brother James from church (who has much back hoe experience) came to help us dig. By late afternoon, James had found the tank and had it completely uncovered, a septic pump truck was called and we had dug around a bit of line that got broken in the process to get it ready for repair. Wisdom, advise and help came to us in many ways to do this huge, messy job that we didn’t now how to do. Jimmy and I spent most of the time down in the trench with wader boots on trying to find any other problems.

We got to the place where we were going to close up the septic line and fill in the hole when it cam to us that we should just see if the line was clear all the way. We stuck a hose in to see if it would flow into the tank and the water just ran back out on us. Jimmy dug down to the point of resistance and wouldn’t you know it, right through our septic line, right where the ooze was a tree root had broken through and caused a clog. We stuck our shovels in and out the things that should go into the septic tank! AHHHHH!!!

So we dug back and wouldn’t you know that that piece of the pipe came out really easily and evenly...which is bad. It looked like that long ago, when the septic line was laid, no one bothered to GLUE THE PIPES TOGETHER! So we tied it together correctly, filled in the hole and two days later the job was done and everything was flowing again. Yeah!

So what have we learned here kids. To keep a system flowing properly you have to...

1. Maintain it...regularly clean out the gook that could stop you up

2. Guard on watch for outside dangers that want to come in and cause trouble

3. Do it right the first time...the words of my father haunt me and I’m passing them on to my sons, “If you are going to do something, do it right.” Work like there is a future

4. There is wisdom in many councilors...each person that came to help us figure out this puzzle had a piece, not the whole of the solution. I am grateful for it all and I am really grateful that it is done.

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