… when suddenly the garage door opened.
It’s one of those moments where I could either panic, or simply be grateful it was 4 a.m. and chances were good none of my neighbors were awake to witness my birthday suit malfunction.
This is the part where you think I woke up and it was all a dream — filled with thoughts about nakedness and how it’s symbolic for vulnerability.
But I didn’t wake up. Because this experience was very much etched in reality.
Now, for the sake of full disclosure (pardon the pun), I walk around naked in my house about 40 percent of the time. This was not one of those times. Mere moments had passed since I’d been dressed in Adidas running shorts, matching tank top and New Balance shoes, happily going nowhere on my treadmill.
A quick shower and a smoothie was all that was standing between me and the rest of my day as a television news digital goddess.
But after about 5 minutes of letting the water run in the shower and having it refuse to warm up, I realized the water heater breaker in the garage had tripped overnight and I would have reset it before a hot shower could be anywhere in my near future.
It was the third time in a week the breaker had tripped. Clearly something was wrong, but I kept blaming it on the breaker — something that one of my friends who is an electrician could look at and replace next time he came over to my house.
What’s the rush? I thought.
Destiny, however, had other plans. As I walked into the garage and fumbled in the dark toward the breaker box, I slipped on what was most definitely not just a bit of condensation coming from the water heater. Slosh, slosh, slip I went, hoping to find the end of the puddle, only to realize it had pretty much encompassed half the garage.
Fifty gallons of water doesn’t seem like a lot, until you’re standing in it with no one around to throw you a life vest.
For reasons known only to God and the patron saint of water heaters, I reached for the light switch, but instead hit the garage door opener button.
It’s at that point that my slumbering partner walked in to see what all the excitement was about. Thankfully, despite being half asleep, she had the wherewithal to close the garage door while I stood there trying to recuperate from my deer in the headlights moment.
The look on her face was a mix between tell me what happened and I don’t want to know.
As my mind fully grasped the fact that the water heater had no intention of warming up the water for me that morning, the first thing that popped into my mind was … But I don’t need a cold shower. Yet, I was definitely going to get one.
But if that was the worse thing that was going to happen that day, then it was going to be a great day indeed.
As I stood in the cold shower a few minutes later, I had the chance to practice the “be grateful for everything” philosophy that I’ve been working on.
I had the chance to be grateful that I have a partner who, despite my criticism of her constant planning, had a folder full of research she had done on water heaters and knew exactly who to call, which model to buy and where to buy it. I had no doubt that in 24 hours or less a brand new water heater would be standing proudly in place of the one that had gone to water heater heaven earlier that morning.
I had the chance to remember that my cold showers would soon end, but there are people who never have the luxury of hot water, or any running water for that matter.
I remembered to be grateful that I have a family and friends who love me and who I have the privilege of loving.
Grateful for my health. Grateful that things like broken water heaters keep me humble and force me to find things for which to be grateful.
The next day as I stood in a warm shower — thankful for a new water heater — I was especially thankful for a loving God who finds the most mundane things in life and uses them to teach lessons that remind me to say “Thank You” — for everything.