by: Brent Wood
But then we saw a house in Clarkston and set up a visit with the realtor. Kelly liked it. She was excited about the newly remodeled kitchen. The kids liked it. They were excited about the swimming pool in the back yard. Me? I just stood and looked at the slanted, sloping, who-in-his-right-mind-would-build-this-kind-of-driveway - and thought, "No way." But democracy doesn't always work.
The kitchen was nice. The pool was nice. The driveway. Not so much. And there was one other thing. There were lots of trees. And that brings us back to the pool. Swimming pools should not be put in heavily shaded areas. Not ever.
But we had never had a pool before, so we didn't know much. So we signed up for pool school. It was a one-night crash course in how to take care of your pool. It pretty much came down to this: just keep throwing chemicals in the water until it looks good.
After graduating from pool school, I faced my first challenge. Opening the pool for the season. Now the key to a good opening in the spring is a good closing the previous fall. The previous owners were evidently not too committed to that idea. Those trees I mentioned? Most of their leaves had found a home in the pool. For the winter. The water was black and full of gook. We spent days scooping it out. (A positive was that the gook-scooping distracted me from feeling bad about the driveway.)
Then we threw in the chemicals. And more chemicals. But eventually the water turned crystal clear. Success! But only for a while. The water started getting cloudy - so it was back to pool school. Class was not in session, but the teachers suggested checking the filter. And therein lay the next problem. Those little fluffy cottony things you see floting in the air in the spring had found their way into the sand in the filter and gunked it up. So I scooped out sand one cupful at a time, replaced it all with new sand - and once again the pool cleared up.
Ah, but then the heater stopped working.
Some people describe pools as a hole in the back yard into which you throw your money.
But I don't totally agree. Sure, there were some expenses - but those expenses were typically the result of poor maintenance. When the pool wasn't cared for the right way, then it became costly. That was the real lesson of pool school. Maintenance matters!
Maybe some of us need to go to pool school. We need to be reminded of the importance of maintenance, of taking care of things. So often in life we settle into routines and take things for granted - and then act surprised when something goes wrong. Like our relationships. Sure they take some maintenance, but they are worth it. Neglect a relationship and you pay the price. But neglect doesn't have to be willful. It can just be careless. But how many friendships, even marriages, have gone bad because no one kept up the maintenance.
It's not just relationships. It can be our health. Maintenance is important. It can be our attitudes. Maintenance is important. It can be our commitments. Maintenance is important. And it can be our faith.
Most people don't just decide to walk away from God or the church - they just stop doing the maintenance. Getting to church stops being a priority. Getting into the Word on a regular basis becomes, well, irregular. Prayer seems like a bother. Generosity loses importance. And we even fail to maintain our hearts and let other things become important.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us that we need to take care of our hearts because it regulates all the issues of life.
So many things that we value in life require maintenance. That maintenance can be tedious or time-consuming or sometimes even difficult or demanding. But a lack of maintenance is far worse. And far costly.
So maybe it's time to go to pool school to be reminded that everything that is worthwhile is worth effort. Do the maintenance!