Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Things fall apart

 "Things fall apart..."

Yes, those words are from a poem by William Butler Yeats.

They're also the title of a novel by Chinua Achebe.

But I don't mean them in the literary sense.

I mean them in the literal sense.

Things fall apart -- and they all seem to choose the same time to do so.

Our dishwasher died last week.  I know, that is totally a first-world problem:  a dishwasher is a luxury, not a necessity, and I've made sure not to complain about washing dishes by hand for the past few days.  But not complaining doesn't mean we intend to go dishwasher-less -- after all, something's got to fit into that perfectly-sized space under the counter!  So we purchased a new one the other day, and yesterday a guy came to remove the old one and put in the new.  This process required him to remove the baseboards under the lower kitchen cupboards because the water hose was installed in an "unusual" way, and to go out and get new pipe fittings to rectify some "unorthodox" plumbing decisions made by the previous owner.

Barely thirty seconds after the dishwasher guy left, our neighbour Bill appeared to do a little plumbing job we'd asked him about:  our main-floor bathroom faucet needed replacing because (1) it was starting to drip randomly and (2) it was 30+ years old and holding together by rust.  Our flashlights are all very lame, so I plugged a lamp into the bathroom outlet to give Bill more light to work by.  The lamp bulb blew, which also blew out the bathroom light fuse.  Sigh.  Fortunately I had another fuse ... better stock up on a few more.

The faucet's working great now (although Bill needed to run out to Canadian Tire for new water lines because the lines on the new faucet were three inches too short to connect with the pipes under the sink).  We'll probably need to buy another lamp, though, because that one may be fried.

Also, the pullout part of our kitchen sink faucet is broken.  The metal tube that surrounds the rubbery blue tube broke off and is now stuck inside the unit, so only the blue tube is exposed -- and it kinks if not pulled out properly.  I'm pretty sure we're going to need another faucet.

In addition, our front stone steps are starting to crumble, and we're thinking we'd better replace them before we have to put out an "UNWELCOME" mat.

And don't even get me started on the main-floor carpets that need replacing.

That's the way with material things, it seems.  The best dishwasher conks out eventually; ours lasted 14+ years, well past the expected 10.  Thousands of turn-offs and turn-ons and pull-outs will take their toll on even the best faucet.  Time, rain, ice, and salt will create cracks in stone and concrete.  Kind of reminds me of the old nursery rhyme, "London Bridge is Falling Down":  various solutions are suggested for repairs to the bridge, but they're all rejected because of their impermanence.  Iron and steel will bend and bow; wood and clay will wash away; silver and gold will be stolen away; and so on.

Sometimes non-material things fall apart, too.  Plans fall through ... dreams dissolve ... hopes crumble ... relationships we thought were permanent break down.  And there's no quick repair job or easy replacement -- as if we could install a brand-new friendship or dream into the space left behind by the old one.  

Those are hard things to face.  I ask "Why," but I don't really reach any satisfactory conclusions.  Some things just don't have easy answers.  But I do find it helpful to focus on things that are permanent and reliable, and that usually means meditating on Bible verses or song lyrics that I find meaningful and comforting.

Josh Garrels' song "Flood Waters" is one that particularly helps me.  Give the song a listen by clicking here -- and if you're experiencing that sense of things falling apart, I hope these lyrics help you focus on the stability and permanence of God and His love.

Higher than the yonder mountain, deeper than the sea
From the breadth of the east unto the west
Is the love that started with a seed

Stronger than the wildest horses and the rising tide
The cords of death hung so heavy round our necks
Will be left at the great divide

Flood waters rise, but it won't wash away
Love never dies; it will hold on more fierce than graves

Farther than the pale moon rises above the open plains
Past the time of the longest blood line
There shines an immortal flame

Somewhere in between forever and the passing days
There’s a place moth and rust cannot lay waste
This is grace, the face of love

Flood waters rise, but it won't wash away
Love never dies; it will hold on more fierce than graves.

Josh Garrels "Flood Waters"
from the album Love & War & the Sea in Between, 2011


  1. With two cars in the shop I get exactly what you are saying about our possessions eventually giving out, Jeannie. I am so glad that God does not.


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