“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house upon a rock. And the rains fell, and the floods came and the wind blew… Yet it stands, for it is founded on rock.” ~Matthew 7:24-25
We’d never owned a house. A condo, yes, but an actual house, no, so naturally we’d never owned a basement. I thought they sounded pretty cool. Not the kind with the scary entrance-to-hell furnace like the one in Kevin McCallister’s imagination in Home Alone. But the practical kind where we would actually have room for a washer and dryer and a “workshop,” you know, one of those things with–what do they call them?–“tools.” Oh, yeah, and there’s one more thing basements have:
The first year we lived here it was dry. I’d heard of people’s basements flooding and felt sorry for them. Fortunately, we had “one of the good kind” that didn’t flood. Then year two arrived. And our basement flooded!
We had a basement flooding expert drain and dry it for us–for almost $1,000. It was easy to find “flooding, basements” in the phone book (remember those?), since it occupied 90% of the “F” section. Done, right?
Nope. Keeping a basement dry is about ongoing maintenance.
It wasn’t until I began memorizing, meditating on and praying Bible verses that I saw the connection between the basement of our physical house and the basement of my spiritual house. By which I mean the bottom-most floor of my character. The part the Bible calls my “flesh.” Not the literal flesh, the stuff mosquitos love, but those fleshly impulses–our tendency to turn basic needs and wants into lusts and obsessions.
If you’re human, you know what I mean.
Here’s what it took to flood-proof both basements:
- Windows – Most of our basement windows were block-glass, attractive and watertight. But one out-of-sight window was nothing but thin, sliding panes. The moment the outside window-well filled, water poured through those panes into the basement. Around the same time, I found a fleshly “window” in the basement of my character that required solid, block-glass repentance and prayerful maintenance. It was the path-of-least resistance through which most of my fleshly floods had entered for years. Do you have one?
- Ramping – As a preventative to flooding, I regularly ramp up a mix of soil and powdered concrete (to hold the soil together) around our outside walls. As long as I maintain this ramping, most rain water never even tries to get in. My revamped (“re-ramped?”) quiet times likewise have sent most temptations–like lustful escapism or brooding despair due to this year’s pandemic flood–away in advance.
- Drainage – Finally, permanent flood control meant giving the rain water that does sink-in an exit path. There was a “French drain” system outside our walls, pipes designed to send rain water to the gutter out front. But it had become root-bound and was no longer effective. My prayer life, designed (along with other things) to drain away fleshly impulses and keep the basement of my character dry and beautiful, had likewise become clogged and inefficient. In both cases, I had to install a new system. And now, as long as I maintain them, both basements are beautiful and useful. Of course, there’s the rest of the house to beautify and maintain…
And don’t even get me started on the roof.