There's a rumor that we may be getting a new water heater this week. It's been four months without one. My husband and I take cold showers. Then I put three large stock pots on to boil for bath time for my kids. Between the cold showers, my clothes line, and my mini-fridge, we're rapidly become Amish. (One of these days I'm going to discover that writing with a quill is easier than typing online.)
We're getting a "point of source" water heater that should be easier to use with our a) large family and b) hard water. Nothing is simple in my house. Before we can install a new water heater, we have to change out our electric box which is an original 1950s model. The electrician is coming today. I'm hopeful this could be an easy fix, instead of a hard one.
There is so much in Carmel about the importance of "detaching from the senses." This very intense bachelor from my Carmel Community gave me a favorite quote. He was so intense and said "Every single day we should smell something unpleasant, we should touch something unpleasant...."
I started laughing so hard, I dropped my St. John of the Cross book on the floor.
He looked at me in sadness. He said "I'm serious. Every single day we should detach from our senses! It's critical for our spiritual well-being!"
I said "I'm a Mother. I change so many disgusting diapers every day all day. I've got the 'smell an unpleasant smell' thing covered. I've never thought of that as being a spiritual benefit before!"
Cold showers was another thing that my husband and I offered up for Jesus for the past few months. I'd done cold showers as penance before. It was a huge difference to have the "choice" of turning the shower to cold, while I knew hot water was available. It's a different level of penance to have a truly cold shower everyday. My husband nicknamed this "involuntary penance." It comes often in poverty and it's always a great gift.
(By the way, I'm shocked too that the "involuntary thing" seems to usually be temporary. The penance lasts way longer that I'm comfort with, but it always ends. For example, we rode the bus for 2 years, but now we own 2 good cars. We rented a house for 5 years, but now we own a house. We went without a water heater for 4 months, but now it looks like we could get a really great one that can last for a longer time. I'm a little different that most thrifty families I know about we don't actively "save" while we do involuntary penance. Its more like if there seems to be a "necessity" we can't do, we try to be patient and little and loving while we wait for God to fix our problem).
I'll be happy to have quick and plentiful hot water inside my house again. Yet I'm also grateful for this time of poverty. We're getting a much better hot water heater than we would had immediately charged a replacement to the Home Depo credit card when our original hot water heater failed. I feel solidarity with people in the past. For four months we had a "cold water tap" home. It was a pain but it wasn't "awful." It wasn't unimaginably terrible to live without an easy access to hot water. There was just a built it 20 minute delay before taking a bath.
Update: We have hot water! It cost us $36 in materials and hours of my husband's labor. Yet all the hardened "gunk" from 20 years of hard water deposits is gone. Thank you St. Joseph!