Or maybe it should read "troubles with toilets" because there has been no end to the troubles with my 2 toilets. It started out as having to jiggle the handle alot. Then it moved into removing the lid from the tank and reconnecting the chain to the flapper thingy (is there no better technical term??). Then the flapper lost it's rubber seal down the drain and I had to replace that. And that is all just on one toilet! The other toilet has had problems with the float. I have been waiting for one of the toilets to explode or just plain fall over one of these days. Finally, the moment I had been waiting for arrived yesterday. I was woken up to the sound of gentle rain. But as I became more aware of the sound, I realized that it sounded like it was raining INSIDE my apartment. When you come to a realization like that you just can't help but bolt straight out of bed and begin running around looking for a disaster. I found it in one of the bathrooms....a stream of water was spraying into the air and half the floor was covered in water (thankfully there is a drain in the middle of the tile floor). At first I thought that a pipe had burst and the shower was somehow spraying but I soon realized that the hose connecting the toilet tank to the wall had cracked. I was able to shut the water off and I was actually super-relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with a plumber coming into my apartment. I am assured that it is an easy fix so I guess I will head back to the hardware counter at the housewares store tomorrow. We have been told by a few people that EVERYONE has problems with their toilets here. And everyone has a different reason why; it could be the water, or just poor installation.
So I was thinking that there must be a lesson in this. What can God teach me through a toilet? The first thing that comes to mind is that things can look bright and shiny on the outside, but on the inside there's a storm a-brewin'. I think I'm managing pretty well here in Caracas, and I try to embrace being pushed out of my comfort zone. But at times, I am still confused about what life and ministry should look like here, and I do miss my family and friends. And some things (like continually broken-down toilets...just off the top of my head) drive me crazy and grate on my nerves. It doesn't mean I don't love being here (I do), it's just hard sometimes.
Secondly, I'm thankful that only one piece of the toilet breaks down at a time. Sure, it would be easier to just do a complete overhaul but there's no guarantee that the new toilet will keep working anyway. I think it's better to just replace once piece at a time. God could do a complete overhaul on my life right now but instead he continually works on my heart bit by bit. Getting rid of the stuff that's useless and broken and replacing it with the best quality, which only He can provide.
I'll end there, at the risk of dragging the toilet metaphors out too far. I just want to take something other than frustration away from this experience with my "inodoros"...and I know that God has a sense of humour. If He didn't, I think the hope would be flushed right out of me.
Darn. I tried not to be tempted to use a toilet joke. Honestly.