I Almost Burned My House Down!
Last night a friend helped me install a new light fixture in our kitchen. It wasn’t something I planned on doing.
For two years the bulbs in our kitchen light fixture have been flickering. At first there was an occasional flicker, but as time passed they grew more frequent. Finally, the fixture died and the lights went out for good. That’s when I called my friend.
We assumed my light switch had failed. majority of “fixture flickers” are a result of bad switches. But not this time. When we pulled the fixture from the ceiling, there it was…
…a charred wire.
…make that two charred wires.
My friend told me if the two exposed wires had touched they would have blown a breaker.
Or burned my house to the ground.
I am thankful we found the problem before something serious happened. Today, I have been evaluating my sanity, or lack thereof. Why would I allow a light to continue to malfunction, knowing full well it was not supposed to flicker? I have come up with three reasons: 1) I assumed it was a temporary problem, 2) I didn’t want to take time to address it and 3) I am an idiot.
I have ruled out number three, mostly because I have given myself credit for having enough sense to finally address the problem. I know this is a shaky argument, but since I am in control of the debate, I’ll take it.
I knew the problem wasn’t going to just go away, so I can’t honestly say I thought it was temporary. Maybe I secretly hoped things wouldn’t get worse, but I wasn’t surprised when they did.
This leaves number two.
I almost burned my house down because there was a problem I didn’t want to take time to address. Why? Well, I have learned when I delve deeper into a problem, it might be worse than expected. There are also other priorities in my life that scream for my attention.
Fortunately, my only consequence was the cost of a new light fixture. I know, I know! If I had burned my house down there would have been other expenses. However, now that the light is fixed, I’m good. No harm done.
But there are other problems we ignore that can’t be repaired with a few dollars and a screwdriver. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t walk with a brother or sister through some painful memory from the past. Abusive childhoods, addicted partners and promiscuous lifestyles leave their mark. The days turn into months and the months into years. One day we wake up and realize we have missed a lifetime of opportunities to bless the lives of others and use our gifts for the glory of God.
If we do nothing, unaddressed problems can indeed burn our house down. Oh, the walls may still be standing, but we are consumed by resentment and regret.
Someone once told me, “You want bad news to travel fast.” I thought he was crazy. Now I know better. It is best to know a problem exists so we can fix it before something worse happens.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the prophet Hosea: “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” (Hosea 6:1 NIV) You can’t fix a problem until you are aware it exists and are uncomfortable moving forward without a change.
I think I am going to make a list of other things in my house I have been ignoring. There’s the 33-year-old stove with the broken timer, the 21-year-old air conditioner unit that has never been inspected and the 22-year-old roof with some edges that are starting to fray.
I think I can get by a little longer.
Until something breaks.
Then I’ll wish I hadn’t waited.
But what’s new?