Today has been my wife's birthday. I had to work out the time difference carefully for my early morning call. She said how much she was missing me but she was going to make the best of the day. However, looking at my emails between classes I saw that a water pipe had burst and flooded part of the basement. Frantically she asked about insurance details etc. Birthday spirit seemed a little strained. Later, managing to contact her by phone, I learned that an emergency plumber was going to help and Carol was staying in for her evening meal, frying eggs and roasting a few potatoes to celebrate with friends who are staying with her.
Another call a few hours later I found the plumber had finished three hours work on a pipe that had corroded. Carol had paid a large bill...birthday spirit seemed a little more strained.
Just before the end of the day I checked in to find that the house electricity had now failed. It was not caused by fuse failure. Indeed all electrical circuits seemed OK. But Carol and friends were ending the day as people who walk in darkness. Definitely birthday spirit had worn thin!
It is strange how when I have been away bad things have often happened at home. In discussion with others here in Sydney we spoke about the phenomenon that when one person is doing Christian work, problems can arise. We don't often talk about spiritual conflict do we, but this seems to fit.? Corrosion could have given way at any time....but on Carol's birthday! Fortunately, she's made of strong stuff and she's experienced this downside of Christian service many times before.
But, of course, I am going to have to make up for my absence on this birthday!