When it rains, it pours. Sometimes figuratively. Sometimes literally. Sometimes both at the same time. This year’s Holy Week will be one that I remember for a long time, because it was one of those weeks.
First, the undercarriage of the car got cracked thanks to an enormous pothole. We held it up off the ground by securing it to the car body with packing tape, which worked better than you might think. That was one of the few things that was actually repaired during the week. But before that could happen, everything else decided to break, all on one weekend. The pipe to the outdoor spigots broke. The tenants’-side porch door broke. My oven broke. And a few days before Easter, just when I was sure that our bad luck had run out, our upstairs shower decided to join the party and started leaking into our living room. Every time I turned around, it seemed that something else would break. I started peering suspiciously over my shoulder a lot.
That same weekend–Palm Sunday weekend–the weather went from winter to summer in about three days. At the time it seemed like no bad thing, and indeed, it was glorious–sun and almost eighty degrees after one of the worst winters on record. But there was a catch. All of the snow started melting off faster than the rivers could carry it away. And then the rain came through, adding to all the water trying to drain off into the rising rivers. We watched helplessly over the course of about five days as our backyard transformed itself into a lake. The water rose up over the top of the drainage ditch that marks the boundary of our backyard, steadily inching towards our three-story garage. It wasn’t long before the basement of the garage was a giant puddle, and even more quickly it became a swimming pool. We held our breath and prayed, willing the water to stop before it reached our house, joking nervously about building a dock and going canoeing. It was half delightful and half terrible to watch a very happy pair of mallard ducks swim over the spot where we had toasted s’mores last summer. I now have a much greater sympathy for flood victims.
All the breaking and flooding would have been quite enough, but the week still had one more surprise for us. While everything else was going on, our tenants, whom we inherited from the previous owner, were attempting to move out on military orders. However, their laissez-faire approach to cleaning (to put it mildly) ran them into problems with their moving company. They spent Easter weekend frantically trying to come up with a Plan B for moving. While this was much more their problem than it was ours (at least, until they moved out and left their mess behind them), we still had to deal with their drama. By the end of the week we just wanted them to be on their way. It was the icing on the cake of an extremely stressful week.
Looking back now, a week and a half later, this seems a litany of rather small woes. It was just one of those weeks where a thousand more-or-less little things all go wrong, all at once. In the thick of it, however, our troubles did not seem petty. The worst part was the feeling that something else, and probably worse, was lying in wait as the week dragged on. The thing that kept me hanging on when I was literally sick from stress was the feeling–or the hope, I suppose–that if we could just make it through the week to Pascha and Bright Monday, everything would be alright.
And you know what? It was. On Good Friday we noted with great relief that the water had begun receding from our backyard. Paschal vigil was wonderful, Easter Sunday was beautifully sunny and we spent the day at my parents’ house, which got us “away from it all” and alleviated my problem of having a broken oven. On Bright Monday our stove was fixed, the spigot was fixed and the leak in the shower was repaired. Our tenants finally pulled themselves together and turned in their keys. I could feel my stress ebbing away with the flood waters.
On Palm Sunday, just as the week was beginning, we found this fairy ring in our yard. In spite of rain, cold nights, and a dusting of snow it is still blooming. Except for the lilies at the Catholic church, they are the only flowers I have seen yet this spring. They were a good reminder that “all may yet be very well.”
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt