Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
Almost the middle of January, and we still have nine weeks and three days until spring, but who is counting? It's an interesting perspective that there are so many great winter activities offered on the North Shore, but the weather has to cooperate. Actually, by past standards, it is a mild season-to-date. There is snow on the ground, but not that much. So, the snowmobilers have not been as prevalent as in times past. The temperatures have not been low enough for an intense, hard freeze of the local lakes to
encourage more ice fishing persons to venture out as much. And, of course, the pandemic has curtailed many otherwise cherished outside social events. However, all-in-all, things seem to be going along fairly well here at the homestead along the scenic highway. I knew it was too good to be true.
It started Sunday evening with no announcement, no forewarning, just an imperceptible ceasing of activity. We should have known by the all too reassuring quiet. Quiet as in a 92-year-old house not announcing its age with fairly consistent utterances of systems in operation. In plain terms – the pipes and vents were not shaking and rattling to let us know the furnace was operating at peak efficiency – because it wasn’t. The first obvious sign was that the upstairs bedrooms at 2:30 a.m. were cold. The inside thermometer stated that the temperature had dropped 10 degrees from what the thermostat is usually set at. At this juncture, I should note that the furnace is almost exactly two-years-old to the very week of
installment. Sure enough, a check of the furnace established that it was not running. I felt the need to share this revelation with Cathy so she could commiserate along with me. After studying the owners' manual, I decided that this was beyond my mere mortal understanding and expertise. Now, I don't shy away from repairing either an electrical, plumbing, or propane issue. However, not on something as important as a furnace, which incorporates all three at once. This revelation resulted in a call at 3:00 a.m. to the plumbing firm that installed the furnace. The rest of the evening/morning was spent in a chilly abode, having done all that we could. Cathy, a native Minnesotan, has now labeled me as a Virginia Hothouse Flower. Should I feel complimented or be concerned?
The plumbing contractor was able to fit us into a busy schedule, arriving in the early afternoon. I imagined a significant repair, costing hundreds of dollars and possibly several chillier evenings. We might actually have to use the wood-burning stove in the living room. The contractor surveyed the system, made his wise and informed decision, and informed us that the repair would take 10 minutes. He was as good as his word. Within the allotted time, he had the furnace operating at full capacity. The repair was relatively simple, and we were shown how to do it ourselves. We joked with the contractor that he could have just done the repair, not told us how, and we might have to be calling him again next year. He stated that 10 years ago, he might have done that, but now he realizes how much easier his and our lives will be with us being able to save having to make that call again.
What was most memorable about this event was not the furnace failing to work or even the repair. What was most memorable and enjoyable was when we spent time outside just visiting after the work was completed. A 10-minute repair resulted in a follow-on 30-minute visit and getting to know someone much better. Cathy and I definitely made a new friend. There was a mutual need that was met. We needed a trained professional to help us, and he needed an opportunity to talk to someone. We both benefit from a new friendship. This serves as a great reminder that living on the North Shore is a wonderful experience. Still, I thank God that some men and women have been called into vo-tech careers to help us who are technically challenged.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
Ephesians 4:11-12 (New King James Version)
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,”
May you be blessed by God's word.