My wife and I have been dealing with a roof leak in our closet for over three years (at least that we've been aware of since remodeling our master bedroom).
Fortunately, the leak is concentrated to the middle of the closet and, except for splashes on really rainy days, our clothes avoid getting soaked. But, it has been a constant source of aggravation and concern for both of us for several years.
We have a 1926 Old Spanish style home with a flat roof. Four different roofers have tried everything and anything (short of completely tearing off the entire roof and starting from scratch, which we may have to resort to) and nothing seems to work. Each roofer has had their own theory and while at times, the repairs appear to work, sooner or later the leak returns.
They’ve replaced gutters, placed new roof covering on practically the entire surface, poured tar and other sticky roof sealants, and nothing. The last guy even covered the walls with a sealant up to the decorative tiles, since a couple of roofers have suggested the leak could be coming through a wall.
What makes it worse, and harder to pinpoint, is that it doesn’t leak every time it rains (although by the time of our last repair, it was dripping with any summer sprinkle). It depends on the wind, the intensity and the direction the rain is coming from.
A few days ago, after six months of peace and tranquility, and after we finally felt confident enough to make the needed repairs on the ceiling just weeks ago, thinking we were finally done with the nagging problem, the leak returned. It’s back to the drawing board and so begins our headache again.
Woe is me, I think. How much longer do we have to endure this thorn at our side, Lord? I mean, sure, the Israelites had to endure forty years wondering in the desert but I don’t recall ever reading that any of them had a leak in their tent. That’s a bit much, don’t you think?
Then, there are the many concerns involved. We have poured a lot of money into that roof without a solution. I worry about mold that may be building within our walls and its effect on my family. I consider whether the support beams are rotting and the damage of the humidity seeping in may be causing. Will our roof collapse on us one day?
There have been many sleepless nights. It reminds me of the Carpenters' song which says, "Nothing ever seems to fit. Hanging around and nothing to do but frown. Rainy days and Mondays always get me down." It's my pity party, I know. And yes, I did quote the Carpenters. Is there a problem with a guy liking the Carpenters? Or, Barry Manilow for that matter? (Although, please stop me if I ever start quoting Looks Like We Made It or Can’t Smile Without You)
Take two. Last week, in the midst of feeling sorry for myself, a close friend of mine tells me that his wife will have to undergo a very serious heart surgery. She has been dealing with what appears to be a birth defect for many years, and now, in her mid-40’s, the condition has worsened to the point where she will need open heart surgery as soon as possible.
My friends have been married for 14 years and have two young kids. The children don’t understand the gravity of the condition, which requires her to be hooked up to a machine outside her body that will simulate her heart and continue to pump her blood while the doctors make the needed repairs. The recovery sounds like it will be arduous as well. My friend is distraught and, although not particularly religious, says he has been praying fervently during the past several weeks.
Take three. The next day, we hear that another good friend, the wife of a man in my men’s church group, and a member of my wife’s group, went in for a routine exam and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Within days, she went in for emergency surgery to remove it.
It turns out the tumor was cancerous and was too large for the doctors to remove completely. They removed most of it but will have to start an aggressive chemotherapy treatment to get the rest. Our friends are very devout and will need it to get through this difficult trial in their life.
And then, there’s our annoying roof leak. Thank you, God; not that our friends are sick and we are not, but that the worst problem we have is material. It’s amazing how sometimes, we feel like the roof is caving over our heads (literally) and then consider the challenges other people are facing and discover that our issues are not really worth the stress.
As I reflect on the cards my friends have been dealt during the past week, and pray for God to give them the strength and faith to overcome, I realize that often we may find ourselves amidst the storm, like the house in the Bible parable. And, while in my case, the rain continues to seep through the roof, like it does in less literal terms for many of us, only the house built on the rock will sustain the tempest. Without God, it all comes crumbling down.
At the risk of quoting Barry Manilow (and possibly affecting your perspective of me), one of his songs is very apropos here. The key for my friends (and to a lesser extent me) is endurance through faith and at the end of the day, we can hopefully say, “I Made It Through the Rain.”...