I've long held that bad things happen to spur us toward good things. It's always counterintuitive, and I never seem to remember it in the moment, but I believe it's true.
Case in point, a downspout came apart on the far corner of my house at some point in the past few months. As a result, all of the rain we had in the relatively recent past had been gushing straight down behind a bush where I couldn't see it until there started to be more visible signs inside the house.
While I knew I could reset the segments of the downspout and reapply some caulking, I knew I would not have the time or the energy to replace a segment of carpet and drywall — at least not in the timeframe it needed to be done. You get the drill, someone comes they take some measurements and say they'll email me an estimate. Pretty standard. But, of course, I keep checking my email, hoping to get work started as soon as possible even though my first step was to decide not to do it myself. It was the most frequently I'd checked that email account in the past year.
And thankfully so.
An email appeared in my inbox informing me my cousin's father-in-law had died and the service would be in the area here. Now, being as I see the obituaries every week here at the paper, I would have seen it eventually, but by the time I would have proofread it and corrected it for style purposes, the service would have been over and I would have felt awful.
I hadn't seen some of those relatives in close to a decade and I don't always see eye to eye with the ones I see more frequently, but my immediate impulse was to go — to show them they were not alone in that grief. And frankly, I may have needed to reinforce that bond of family just as badly as they needed to know it was there. I may have needed to remind myself how much I love my extended family just as badly as they needed to be reminded how much they are loved. It was likely healing for both of us. And I owe it to unfavorable circumstances I was sure was part of the curse of homeownership.
A broken downspout.
The bitter winter and the hard rains may have damaged my home, but the end result was healing. Sometimes we are cold and we are wet so we can help others find their warmth. Sometimes we just need to sit by a fire together and remember what we have in common because, eventually we all need each other.