One of my ‘big things’ is that I’m always trying to find the messages God hides away in the various circumstances of my life. Nine times out of 10, I do a pretty good job of working it out, but there’s the odd occasion when I simply have no idea what’s going on, or why.
Usually, they are things that are just so bizarre that they defy classification, like the time I dropped my husband off at the curb one morning and he completely disappeared into thin air.
Turns out, the council had removed that section of pavement, and my husband fell straight into a drain pipe. Thank God, he wasn’t seriously hurt, but I was perplexed for weeks about what was going on, until I read something in a Rav Arush book talking about how using the internet was like walking on a street with massive holes all over the place.
So with that intro, let me tell you a story. This week, the washing machine and shower started backing up in my rented apartment. The landlord came, apparently fixed the problem, and left.
The next day, the toilet started backing up. I ignored it for a couple of days and hoped it was going to sort itself out, but then the downstairs neighbour told us the external outlet pipe was leaking sewage onto the street, and we needed to get it looked at pronto.
All this was going on Friday morning. The plumber showed up Friday afternoon, and as soon as he started loosening the cap on the outflow pipe, it exploded. A geyser of sewage started spewing all over the pavement, and nearly knocked some passing bloke off his bike.
I looked at the plumber’s face, and I could already tell this wasn’t going to be an ordinary pipe-cleaning experience.
10 seconds later, a posse of 20 local neighbourhood kids showed up, and started asking my husband what was going on. He didn’t have the Hebrew to go into details, but he told them ‘it’s biyuv’ (Hebrew for sewage) – and they should stay far away.
Of course, they didn’t.
Instead, they started analysing the contents of the disgusting mess spewing all over the pavement, excitedly announcing to everyone ‘it’s number 2!!!’
At that point, I scarpered off to the shop, leaving my husband and the plumber to deal with it.
I came back to find a small committee gathered around, holding a loud discussion about the state of our pipes and giving us lots of advice about how we could get someone else to pay for the plumber.
The plumber wanted to know if these 20+ children belonged to us, and whether we could get them to go away. Of course, we couldn’t.
In the meantime, the stuff was still spewing all over the place, and the whole outside reeked. The audience started running around holding their noses and making loud pretend gagging noises.
I’ll spare you the rest of the details by saying that we somehow managed to track down a hose, and then spent the next hour trying to clean up the mess, while the peanut gallery of 8 year olds helpfully pointed out the bits we’d missed, reminding us that it was ‘really dangerous’.
Two and a half long hours later, I finally slumped down on the couch, and started wondering ‘what the heck was all that about?’
Sure, toilets get blocked from time to time – and it happens to us more than to a lot of people – but the sewage geyser plus audience was a completely new twist.
What was the message God was trying to send me, by spraying all that stuff all over the neighbourhood in such a public way?
My husband, ever the optimist, reminded me that it all happened on the day of ‘yesod she begevurah’ of counting the Omer, or the ‘foundation of strength’.
He’s convinced that some big, fundamental spiritual pipe just got unblocked and fixed for us, based on the plumber’s observation that ‘that stuff’s been backing up for ages. Maybe even for years.’
We only moved in a few months’ ago, which means that we may well have got stuck cleaning up someone else’s old fundamental issue, which just got ignored until it literally exploded in our faces (does that sound familiar?)
So what do I think about all this? Truthfully, I don’t know. If you have any insights, feel free to share them in the comments section, below.
In the meantime, I’m just hoping the neighbour who nearly got knocked off his bike by a foul torrent of ancient cacky doesn’t develop PTSD and try to sue me…