I have been working on a project for SEVEN YEARS now, and last weekend was the “do or die” for this particular project. I had decided it was either going to work and stay working, or I was going to take a sledgehammer and beat the thing to death. I was really just over it.
When we were building our house, I drove by this park in Williamstown, West Virginia, and they had this gorgeous round flower bed with a fountain in it, and I just thought, “Oh, I’ve got to have that – that is gorgeous!” So I instruct the bricklayers to make me a 10-foot round circle about 3 feet high, concrete base under it, and I fill it with dirt, find a fountain to put in the middle, and plant my flowers. The first year, it was great – flowers worked, fountain gurgled, all operated pretty well the way it was supposed to. But the truth is, even though it was “performing,” it was a pain in the neck.
The fountain needed water put in it constantly, and the flowers were in the area where you would stand to put the hose into the fountain, so you were either stomping on the flowers or had to stand way back and waste a ton of water to get the water into the right spot. And you would not believe how fast water evaporates! On sunny days, the entire thing would almost just go away, so every morning was a chore of seeing what the fountain needed. And the flowers….yes, they looked good. But they needed weeded constantly, and the bed was too big to reach, so once again you were stomping on the flowers trying to get to the flowers in the back. Oh, and have I mentioned that the deer ate the flowers also, so that was another chore, to keep them sprayed with that expensive Deer-Off stuff?
Year two, I attempted the flowers and fountain again, although my enthusiasm was waning. Same deal, except we had a couple “incidents” which killed the flowers. Tom was good about trying to keep the water in the fountain (with a few nice reminders), but he too was weary with it. The fountain was getting murky sometimes, so he decided to load it with bleach to keep it clean. Sounds good in theory, but the truth is that the fountain spit so much water out that it kind of kept the flowers watered, so when the water was almost pure bleach…..you guessed it. I come home from a trial I’m doing to brown dead flowers.
Year three or so, I had had enough. I then see a large round fountain that has these pop-ups of water, and I think that’s what I should do – get rid of the dirt, replace it with water, and voila, no weeding, no bleach-killed flowers, all just beautiful water and fountain sounds, and how wonderful that will be! So that summer, I dug the dirt out as much as I could, hired a couple teenagers to help with the rest, and we scrub the fountain down (white brick that had red clay mud in it). I research what to paint the brick with to waterproof it, and the plan was borne. Tom and our friend Tommy worked several days getting this automatic water thing hooked up to it kind of like a cattle trough that will let it fill up and then shut off once it reaches a certain point.
We got it all dressed up, worked and worked on caulking and sealing where the electric lines for the fountain pumps came in, caulking around the drain they had put in, and filled my baby up. It was great! Fountains all worked, three jets shooting around the main fountain, sounded great and looked beautiful! I was so happy with it.
The first summer, it worked fairly well. The next summer, not so much – leaks began, and they couldn’t be isolated. I get the bright idea that I should spray that stuff the guy sprays on the bottom of the boat all around the walls to seal it off. Works for the boat – why shouldn’t it work on a fountain? I know, right? So we drain the fountain for about the fourth time in that summer (the previous times had been looking for the leaks and spot fixing). I clean it up good, spray about ten cans (at $12.00 a pop!) around the walls. Let that dry, fill it up – works well! Woohoo! We end the summer with not too many leaks.
The next two summers, the fountain became a thorn in my side that just would not heal. It leaked and leaked and leaked. No matter how much sealer I sprayed on it, how much picking and looking for holes with a magnifying glass, I could not get it to stop. We filled it so many times, I can’t even count. The water bill was horrendous, and any relaxation that it had brough was long gone. Last summer, it sat almost all summer empty, a stark and ugly reminder that my dream had not worked, and my fountain had failed.
This spring, I was at the beach for a while and came home to all the yard work that I usually take care of, including the “stupid fountain.” Yes, it had lost its place in my heart. It had become a problem, a chore, a constant disappointment. I researched one more time what might help, and I decided I would give it ONE more try before beating it to death. In reading what I needed to buy, what I needed to do, I was overwhelmed with the enormity of what it was going to take – time, money, effort. See, I had to REMOVE all the layers of sealer I had put on the sides, so the new product would have something to stick to.
Yes, the sealant hadn’t worked too well, but there were many coats on there, at a substantial cost, and I sure hated to part with them. Plus, they “might” be a help if I left them on….nope, they had to go. I got a wire brush and began to scrub. Some flaked off fairly well, but most just stuck (acting like it was sealing! – HA!). Anyway, I researched some more and realized I was going to have to power spray it off. I get the power washer, hook it up, start at it. Good thing I have safety glasses on, because this black stuff starts spraying everywhere, mainly right at my face. Did I mention the sealant was BLACK? And did I mention it’s 90 degrees this day?
The nozzle I was using on the power washer wasn’t cutting it good enough, so I had to go to the tiniest one they make that just sends out a pinprick, but it’s a powerful pinprick. That was getting the stuff off, but only where I slowly sent the motion, and in the size of a lead pencil probably. This was going to take forever! And forever it did take. I started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 8:00 at night. During the day, I had to wipe my safety glasses like a windshield wiper to be able to see. I was COATED all over with the black sealant, in large and small pieces. My clothes were ruined, and my skin wasn’t doing so hot either. The sealant was like a demon determined to stick, and the only way to get it off was to get in its face and win the battle.
By 8:00 p.m. that night, I had the sealant mostly off and a coat of the new sealant on. I was hopeful. The directions said you had to cover the masonry totally, even watching for pinpricks of air pockets. That involved squatting down and literally nosing around the perimeter of this thing and trying to shove paint into it. I was so sore and worn out by the end of this day, I could hardly drag myself into the house. And honestly, I had spent most of the day so frustrated, I could have torn the whole thing asunder with just my mood. I was frustrated at my ineptitude to do a simple project; I was frustrated with the fact I was doing this alone and my husband had long ago given up his investment of time and energy in this dream of mine; I was frustrated that you cannot find anyone to hire to do projects like this; I was frustrated that the sealer that did not seal was bound and determined to stick and had to literally be beat off; I was frustrated that my fountain had disappointed me so thoroughly. I had believed in my fountain – I KNEW it had potential to be a good companion to me, to behave according to its destiny, and to provide peace and comfort rather than aggravation and defeat.
I know this has been a very long story, but I had to tell you the details so I could explain what God has shown me. It wasn’t during the battle that He showed me; it was after the battle had been won that He showed me that my fountain was just like we are to him. See, He believes in us – he views us through our destiny and our potential, not our realty. And HE NEVER gives up on us! He showed me that my black sealant that did not want to come off is just like our sin that we take on, and He has to remove, bit by bit, blasting it away so that we can once again see through His eyes to know that we can be clean and spotless, able to achieve what He has for us, able to perform at expectation. He also showed me that when we take on these things, thinking it will be a good companion, a peace and comfort, as we layer and layer it on (already having seen that it DOES NOT WORK) that we are putting a band aid on a problem that can only be handled by an eradication as only God can do.
As I think about my frustration with my fountain, wondering why I didn’t give up four years ago, God reminds me that He will never lose his patience with us, He never gives up on us, He will walk through all the frustrations and disappointments we put Him through, and He will keep the vision alive until we see it and ask Him to restore us.
I would ask you today: What are you layering your life with? Is it relationships that take you away from God? Is it a dream of success that has left God behind? Perhaps a substance addiction that you really want to quit but aren’t able to? I beg you – take up the power washer known as The Almighty, The All Powerful, the All Knowing and All Seeing God of the Israelites – He can transform you as quickly as you can drop to your knees and bow your head. All you have to do is ask……
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.