Sprinkler Wars

Whatever the opposite of a handyman is, I am that (klutz perhaps?).  I don’t like doing aroundthe-house jobs and repairs and I’m not good at them. Sometimes I make a bad situation worse.  Often I have to ask my next-door neighbor to come over and right my wrongs, which he has graciously done on many occasions.

Well, last week I noticed two things about my sprinkler system.  One was that I was getting dry patches around the back yard meaning that the watering was uneven and I probably would have to replace some sprinkler heads.  The second thing I noticed was the puddling around a particular sprinkler which probably meant that the stem or the sprinkler was cracked.  So I would have to do a little more work on that one. Yesterday the sprinklers and I went to war.

In the early going battles I had some success.  Old sprinkler heads came off and new ones went on.  When tested the water literally shot out of those sprinklers, a fitting fountain for my victories.

I then approached the puddler.  Coming off my earlier victories there was a glimmer of ending this war without me being one of the casualties.  I unscrewed the sprinkler head and there was large crack in the stem which became the breaking point as the sprinkler and part of the stem came off in my hand while remnants of the enemy hid themselves in the sprinkler line.  I tried screwing out the part of the stem inside the line with my little twisting tool but could not get a grip. So I began pulling pieces out with pliers and finally was able to twist the rest of the stem out of the line.  It had the appearance of success.

Appearance is the key word.  As I was struggling with the stem, dirt reinforcements were sneaking into the sprinkler line.  After many unsuccessful attempts to clear the line, I was able to get some of them out by screwing the sprinkler head on, turning on the sprinklers, and then taking apart the sprinkler and cleaning the filter.  I merely cast those dirt carcasses onto the lawn to show my disdain of their attempt to set me back.  I screwed the new sprinkler head on, turned on the sprinklers and, wahlah, water was still puddling around that sprinkler. That puddling water was like a bullet in the gut and once again I knew I could not escape becoming a casualty in this latest sprinkler war, just as I had been a casualty so many times in the past.

Being a strong believer in Providence, I know there is a purpose to all this, as frustrating as this situation is.  I know there is a “why” to these things happening even when I can’t figure out the “why” myself.  I know that it probably has little to do with sprinklers and much to do with God’s chiseling of me into the image of his Son.  With mud under my fingernails and sore legs from so much stooping down and bending over, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that nothing is wasted in the economy of God – even when that economy comes in the form of the grind.  It is in these little grinds of life that we need to learn to keep the perspective that the God of glory stands behind these Providences.  In the big scheme of things, sprinklers don’t mean much.  However it can be these little issues which sometimes trip us up.  Have you identified the little things in your life which lead you into war and trip you up?

My sprinkler?  It is still not working.  I’m waiting for my next-door neighbor to come home.


About Dr. John H. Harbison

Son of God, Husband, Father, Author of "Keeping Christ in Ministry,"Vice-President for Academic Affairs, College Pastor, Runner, Writer
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One Response to Sprinkler Wars

  1. AJ Harbison says:

    I really enjoyed this post–the extended metaphor was well played. And I’ve definitely noticed that little things can tend to make me very frustrated. Thanks for another good reminder about keeping things in perspective.

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