Finding Gratitude in a Clogged Sewer Line

By Bethany Theulen

I recently experienced the best application of the Law of Relativity that I have had since learning about these laws. It was a moment that I believe will forever be burned into my memory as both a source of humor and a concrete example of just exactly how this law works.

The truth is, I used to resent this particular law. I was not fond of being in some really, really poor living conditions only to be reminded that “at least I have a roof over my head.” To be honest, it would make me angry, even with a fairly deep understanding of these universal laws.

Just before moving out of a rental we had been living in, one day the sewer started backing up under the toilet….again….and I started laughing. In fact, it was one of those hallelujah-chorus-moments that made me so grateful for having a Father in Heaven that is so aware of me.

Ironically, this same toilet, same sewer system, and same exact scenario had occurred just a few months prior to the time I am referring to. At that time, I truly thought I was going to break from the stress of it all. The chaos happening around me with personal family matters, a recent trip across the country to help my daughter move in with me temporarily, and business stresses had taken me to a place of extreme overwhelm. For the 7 months we had been living in this particular rental, the plumbing had been a living nightmare. When I flushed the toilet, only to have all the sewer water spew into my home underneath it, I lost it, and it took me about a week to recover emotionally from the meltdown that ensued.

See, it wasn’t just that one flush. It was also the leaking sewer pipe into our basement. It was the unseen leak from the upstairs bathroom that caused a portion of the ceiling in my 5-year old’s room to collapse. It was the broken pipe that poured water into our beautiful back yard – the yard that was my ONLY place of respite from that awful house we lived in.

With an enormous amount of pressure placed on the landlord, and 6 visits from a plumber, the plumbing issues finally subsided enough that we could function and manage to live, but I knew we had to move. I was even advised by friend to move my daughters to a more suitable home before the cold winter set in, and our landlord let us out of our lease early with no penalties.

That sounds simple, except securing local housing is like finding a needle in a haystack. I also had no consistent income at the time, and we had very specific needs that had to be met wherever we ended up. As the move-out date approached, with no housing yet secured for myself and my daughters, I began to doubt. I questioned if I had been wrong, because the plumbing was at least manageable by that point. However, I kept remembering the peace I had felt once the decision to move had been made.

And then, just days before our move out date, I went to flush the toilet and guess what?! It was painfully obvious that, once again, the plumbing was running slow, and it was just a matter of time before the sewer backed up into the house again.

I did a happy dance. In that moment I KNEW. I knew that the Lord had just provided me with tangible evidence that there was no need to doubt. Everything was exactly as it should be, and I realized that there had been unseen help all that time keeping our sewer cleared. All the stress from plumbing issues had been held off long enough for me to focus on the steps in front of me to move.

Same scenario, but this time I saw it differently. And I laughed. I laughed because never would I have believed that a plumbing problem would be a source of profound gratitude. And that’s when it hit me. THAT is how the Law of Relativity actually works!


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