My dad is a super handyman. The kind where as a kid, and now in to adulthood, I keep coming up with absurd projects and ideas because I am convinced that no matter how difficult or ridiculous it seems to me, he could probably figure something out and build or fix it. This is a man who, as a child, would tear apart a lawn mower to as many pieces as possible, and then put it back together until it worked. He did this for fun.
God bless him, he tried to teach me, but I just don’t have a handy mindset. Countless times we would be in the garage trying to build a bookshelf or something, and I would follow the instructions, measure 10 times to cut once, and fail. Dad in those moments gave me such a lasting image of what God’s grace is like, as he would hold whatever board that I had butchered, give it a quick up and down, and then say “I think we could work with this” as he set about fixing it.
Fast forward to this week. Sarah on Monday took a shower, and asked me if I was doing laundry. Who does laundry at this hour of the morning I politely grumbled, and we both realized that the hot water tank was broken. I went down to the basement to run a quick diagnostic. I could get the pilot light to turn on, but then the moment I took my finger off the igniter, it would go out again. We live in a glorious age where there is a YouTube video for everything, so I did some quick research. Apparently this issue is the tell tale sign of a bad thermocoupler.
Take a moment and play with that word in your mind. Thermocoupler. Doesn’t that sound scary? Some of the kids from our youth group have gone to college for astrophysics or advanced engineering degrees. They are the kinds of people who say things like thermocoupler. Not chuckles the youth pastor.
But, finances were tantalizing. To even have a service tech walk in your front door is $90, before they touch the heater, discover the problem, and fix it. Having someone replace a thermocoupler is likely a $200 repair. And yet, the part itself is a mere $12 at Home Depot. Could it be done?
Obviously the first phone call was to dad. I explained how I diagnosed the problem, and what I thought would be involved in fixing it, in a way that more than suggested that he should come out and help me fix this stupid thing. Much to my surprise, he said “That’s easy. You could do it!” Me? Handyman? With stuff like natural gas and electricity in the equation? Any project that has a greater than 0% chance of me blowing up the house is one that should not be attempted! And yet, dad thinks I can do this.
I went to Home Depot last night and bought the part. Things started off poorly as I was searching for the gas shut off to the water heater, said to myself “Is this it?” while pulling a knob, which apparently spews water from the tank all over the floor where I’d be working, including on my tools. Great start. But I found the proper gas shut off, and set about my work. I swear I heard the heart rate monitor from shows like ER playing behind me as I unscrewed panels, gently removed old parts, cleaned up the burner, and finally installed the brand new thermocoupler. I put everything together, and held my breath as I lit the pilot. It went on as it had before, which was a good start. Then, after the recommended minute, I let go of the ignition, and the sucker STAYED LIT! I turned the gas on, and long story short treated myself to a hot shower this morning.
Now to be sure, I am an amateur handyman (throw back to Tuesday’s post). Sweat poured from my brow as I attempted to save my family roughly $188. But it all got me to thinking about how powerful the encouragement of someone you trust can be. Reading my dad’s text saying “You can do it” was extremely powerful, just enough to get me to bust out my tool kit and get the work done. So I’m wondering, who in your life needs a word of encouragement? Who is it in my life that I can reach out to and say “You can totally do this!” What a big difference it would make if we would tell those closest to us that we legitimately believed in them.
So, go for it. Do that thing that you never thought you could do. Go on YouTube and get some help if you need to, but know that you can do it. It might be hard. You might spill water all over the floor. It might get messy. But I believe in you. I hope you do too!