When I was a boy, and something bad happened, my mom would always say, “Remember, there isn’t an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good.” Translation (just so no one has to think too hard): There is good that can come, even from bad situations.
Saturday, as I was hurrying to put something away in the crawl space under our house, I bumped into a pipe. (You know what happened next, but I’ll share the details anyway…) This pipe ran parallel to the wall, but stuck out from the wall about 12-inches. Now understand, that for 20 years I’ve thought, “Tenny, someday you should move that pipe—re-plumb it—because one of these days “someone” is going to bump into it and break it.” Well, that day finally came on Saturday, and I was “someone.” Just like the water that gushed from the rock in our Scripture lesson last Sunday, water gushed from the broken pipe into the crawl space. But the water gushing into my crawl space wasn’t a welcome sign from God—at least in my eyes. So, I ran up the stairs into the house, and yelled upstairs to Sherry (who was in the midst of getting ready for work), “…BROKE A PIPE…BROKE A PIPE…WATER’S GOING OFF!!!”
After I got the water turned off and calmed down, I began to look for the good that might be blowing from that “ill wind.” And I found it. Our son, Colin, already on his way to our house to meet me for an event we were going to, was able to stop by the hardware store, pick up the materials I needed to cap off the pipe (until I have time to properly repair it), and help me with the project. The “good that blew” was the additional time I got to spend with Colin, and the help that he provided. We talked, laughed, and shared some father/son time in the crawl space, even though it put us behind schedule for the day.
Later, I began thinking about the water gushing from the pipe, and realized that maybe it was more of a gift from God than I thought at the time I was initially uttering un-pastor-like things to the broken pipe:
I got to spend time with Colin working on a project. That doesn’t happen as much as it did when he lived under our roof. He and his wife, Shannon, have their own lives, and a house, and enough of their own “ill winds” to deal with—as we all do. The good wind that blew was the time spent with my son.
I finally will get to change out that pipe, that has been taunting me for 20 years, daring “someone” to come along and break it. And more good that the ill wind blew, is a new design for the plumbing. No more will it be a threat to passersby in the crawl space (me).
I look for some good each time I visit someone in the hospital or a rehab facility, and I can generally find it, even amid the “ill wind” of unwanted and unexpected cancer, surgery, or illness, or.... For when we talk, we share stories, we reminisce, we laugh (to the extent we are able)…and always…we feel God’s presence replacing the “ill winds” with His love and compassion. In those moments, when two or more of us are gathered in His name, we remember Who and Whose we are—children of God—and we see God’s goodness blowing stronger than any “ill wind.”
God is there, even when the unwanted “ill winds” of life’s challenges blow our way. And in those moments, we remember that the breath of God blows stronger than any “ill wind.” We remember that through our baptism, we are named and claimed children of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ…forever.
Blow, Spirit, blow! Let Your love gush forth…
And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)