Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Hope They Only Come In Threes

My wife and I were recently on our way to the temple. We had known that the tires on our car were, um, well seasoned. We hoped to put off that purchase for a few more months. But, BLAM!, one tire blew out. I was going at a pretty good clip at the time, so the rim was damaged.

"Oh, come on," I was thinking. "Can't we get a break? I mean, we're on our way to the temple. We're trying to do the right thing here."

After changing the tire (which was thankfully facilitated by a friend that happened by wearing work clothes—yes, thanks for that blessing), we noted that the beautiful never-been-used spare was low on air. We took the car to a tire dealership, which was not far away. (OK, the fact that we were close to the tire place and it was during business hours was another blessing. Thanks.)

Given the state of affairs, we ended up buying four new tires, a new rim, and an alignment job. (Indeed, the tires we wanted 'happened' to be on sale, so there's another blessing.) We left the car to be repaired and took another vehicle to the temple. Upon retrieving the car a few hours later, we had a hefty bill (despite the discount) that we hadn't expected to pay this month. But the car is safer now. (Yes, thanks for that.)

The next day as I was doing yard work (that I detest doing—I'm not much of a yard care guy), my wife came out and informed me that the new kitchen faucet I had installed a few weeks back was leaking under the sink. I discovered that the leak was inside of the inaccessible portion of the unit. I uninstalled the unit and took it back to the hardware store. Since it was relatively new, they replaced it. I went home and installed the new faucet. No leak. No additional expense in money (Thanks for that), but there went an hour and a half I had expected to use differently.

A short time later my wife informed me that the clothes dryer had quit working. I surveyed the problem and determined that replacing the defective part would cost nearly half the price of a new dryer. My wife reminded me that the unit had been causing discolorations on white articles of clothing. That sealed it. It was time for a new dryer.

We did some online research and found a unit we wanted at a price we could accept. Unfortunately no one in town had one in stock. So we tried a different model. Same story. Finally we found a less featured model for a closeout price. There was one left in stock, so we bought it. (Thanks for that deal; although, we hadn't expected this expense.) We later ran to the store and fetched it home. (Thanks that I have a vehicle that could handle chores like that.)

I was thankful that we were replacing a dryer and not a washing machine because dryers are far lighter than washing machines. After getting the new dryer upstairs and unboxed, I realized that I would have to remove the washing machine to exchange the old and new dryer machines. (Our wash room is tiny—a compromise we accepted for getting it on the main floor.)

After battling with the heavy washing machine to get it out of the way, I was able install the new dryer without too much difficulty. Getting the washing machine back in place was much more challenging. Then I reattached the hoses. It was late and we needed to get to bed. I left the old dryer in the living room.

As I was getting ready to leave the following morning, I realized that I had forgotten to turn the water supply to the washing machine back on. I quickly did that before leaving. My wife later informed me that she had turned off the wash room spigots because there was a leak and water was everywhere. I sent her to the store for a new hose.

After getting home from work I had my son help me deliver the old dryer to its destination. Then I set to work installing the new hose on the washing machine. No go. The faucet itself was leaking. I turned off the house water supply and tried dismantling the faucet to change the rubber grommets. I got one piece off and fashioned a grommet from a larger one. (Why don't I ever have the right materials for home maintenance jobs?) It still leaked. Moreover, it was corroded enough that I was unable to further disassemble or remove the old spigot. It was soldered to the pipe, not threaded.

I know when I'm beat. This kind of plumbing is beyond my ability. I turned to my wife and asked her to hire a plumber to replace the faucets in the wash room. She did so the next day. The job went quickly, but there went another chunk of money we hadn't expected to spend this month.

Of course, inconveniences and unexpected burdens on resources are the common lot of all humans. And none of the little problems I have mentioned are really that important in the grand scheme of things. But, honestly, do several of them have to gang up on us all at once? Or perhaps this is a sampling of God's sense of humor? Or maybe I've done something to warrant the compressed timing of these minor trials?

Uncle, I say. Uncle, already! Whatever I've done wrong to warrant all of this frustration and expense inside half a week, I'm ready to humble myself and repent. Just let me know what I need to do. Again, I know when I'm beat. I'm hoping that the old superstition about trials coming in groups of three is true. Oh, wait. I count four. I guess it's not true.

I know that we are commanded to thank to the Lord in ALL things (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Mosiah 26:19, and D&C 59:21). And I do see blessings in this chain of events. But I would be fibbing if I said that I found it easy to be thankful for all things in this story.

At least, from my current perspective. Maybe someday ....


BDH said...

Like you, we have had our share of long and short term misery. It seems as though the short term is what I complain about most. President Snow gives me hope and helps me to understand it better by putting it into perspective with this statement:
When we contemplate what the Lord has done for us in the past, our present surroundings, and our future prospects, what a blest people we are! I have thought sometimes that one of the greatest virtues the Latter-day Saints could possess is gratitude to our Heavenly Father for that which He has bestowed upon us and the path over which He has led us. It may be that walking along in that path has not always been of the most pleasant character; but we have afterwards discovered that those circumstances which have been very unpleasant have often proved of the highest advantage to us.
Lorenzo Snow, General Conference, 1899

Scott Hinrichs said...

Thanks for the perspective.