In the course of a recent bathroom remodel, one of the plumbing subs overlooked an uncrimped pipe, resulting in one of those (mercifully rare) phone calls Tim has a habit of receiving right around, “Let’s eat!”
At first it wasn’t clear how much water had made its way out of the pipes and into places water doesn’t belong. That’s one of the infuriating things about water leaks—it’s impossible to see the damage right away, but with water’s uncanny ability to go where it pleases, you have to hold your breath for a while before letting it out in a sigh of relief.
The guys cleaned up what they could see, got the fans running, and then did the only thing they could do: they waited.
Waiting for the Cracks to Show
The bathroom was on the second story, so all eyes were on the first-floor ceiling. Fugitive water will often show itself around drywall joints first, but it can take a day or so to see the evidence.
Sure enough, by the following morning the ceiling was showing signs of moisture, so the crew opened it up and began the drying process. It’s important not to rush this step. Patching things up too soon can lead to that nasty “m” word we don’t like to say.
Only when all moisture had been eradicated did they give the clients a new ceiling to go along with their new bathroom.
When Life Hands You a Leak
As I was pondering this hiccup, it occurred to me how much life is like a water leak. Something goes wrong—a pipe bursts, so to speak—and afterward the only thing you know for sure is that you’re a mess.
No one likes being a mess. You just want to clean yourself up, get on with business as usual. But if you do that, you run the risk of covering up a problem that’s only going to get worse.
The mess needs time to settle, absorb, show itself for what it is. Only then can you point to the damage and say, “There it is. That’s what needs fixing.”
The waiting is hard, and looking in the face of our own damage is even harder, but the reward is worth it. Once we air things out, patch things up, we’re left with something new.
Maybe even—dare we hope—something stronger.