It occurs to me that faucet repairs, like salvation history, tend to require a lot of manpower.
At least, that’s the legacy I seem to have received from my father.
Dad was a wonderful guy: A loving, attentive patriarch. An avid (and semi-skilled) golfer. A faithful and faith-filled Catholic. Even at times an amateur politician (i.e., somebody whose idea of fun was to run for US Congress in half-a-dozen campaigns.) Dad was NOT, however, a handyman. He didn’t have a single “DIY” bone in his body. Didn’t even own a toolbox, in fact – although you could find a hammer and a handsaw and maybe a pair of pliers in the basement (if you knew where to look).
I say this not in order to disparage my Dad’s memory…but to save a little face. You see, like my Dad before me, I tend to get completely flummoxed by even the simplest of home repairs.
Take our kitchen faucet (please!).
For the second time in less than a year, I found myself disassembling the beast the other day…trying to stop a pesky drip-drip-drip. Had all the new parts in place. Had a full head of steam, too, including every ounce of “fake DIY bravado” I could muster. Then I decided to read the manufacturer’s instructions:
“The adequate tightening torque is 70-100 in-lbs. If an indicator torque wrench and socket is not available, this can be achieved by using an 8-inch adjustable wrench and applying between 9 and 12 pounds of force at a distance of 8 inches from the center of the bonnet nut.”
Either I’d flipped my bonnet, I realized…or this repair was going to require some REAL expertise. Guys who both knew their tools…and were able to suffer fools.
Fortunately, I am blessed to know a number of such fellows – friends and a delightful son-in-law who not only OWN torque wrenches, but understand how to USE them. (Frankly, it did my heart good to discover that even amongst such skilled craftsman, this repair was STILL not a simple thing to accomplish. Who knew, for example, that most torque wrenches bear settings measured in foot-lbs, not inch-lbs?)
Long story short, I teamed up with a trio of DIY heroes over the past two days to get the job done: No runs, no drips, no errors!
In an Advent oddity, I noticed that this over-staffed plumbing project occurred on the very day when we hear one of the Lectionary’s most notorious readings – the genealogy of Jesus, included at the beginning of Matthew’s gospel.
Don’t know about you, but I tend to groan inwardly each time I hear this passage proclaimed. It’s certainly a challenge to maintain my focus from start to finish, simply because:
…the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations;
from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations;
from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations.
That’s 42 generations, if you’re keeping score. A LOT of manpower – not to mention, the essential contributions made by women (including those few women who actually DO get mentioned) at every point along the way.
Which is to say, salvation history appears to be slow work. Deliberate work. Interdependent work.
The impatient need not apply.
So perhaps that’s a nice lesson to take away from today’s plumbing repair and gospel reading – a chance to see how very deeply I am blessed…by those who stick it out, even when they’re surrounded by fools.
Blessed, too, by the holy and abiding perspective we achieve only through the voice of the generations.
In Advent, we pause to call this Gift by name:
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
Guiding creation with power and love:
Come to teach us the path of knowledge!
Come, Lord Jesus! Come!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.