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Madam Julie's Leaking Pipe
by Adetokunbo Oluwasanjo
11/26/2009 / Short Stories
Sewage leaked from the broken pipe all over the bathroom floor. Madam Julie couldn't sleep. The children couldn't sleep. But the landlord could. Then she had a brilliant idea. If the landlord couldn't sleep, he'd jolly well do something about it.
Life had been hard. Widowed with two children of her own, her brother died leaving four more. A single mother with barely enough for her family, when a young teenage co-worker at a laundry service got pregnant and was abandoned by her family, she took her in with open arms but a heavy heart. "Lord, I don't know how we're going to get by but we are going to trust You one day at a time." she prayed.
Everyone knew and loved Madam Julie. When the skies were blue, Madam Julie saw a rainbow. When the load seemed a little too heavy, Madam Julie thanked God for shoulders strong enough to bear it. When she saw a broken spirit, she lifted her voice in a song and I tell you.no one was strong enough to resist the joy her rich soprano infused through songs of a Saviour's Love, so real and unconditional.
She didn't wear the best clothes nor did her troop, as her neighbors called the children, but every Sunday they marched to the local church like they were going to see A King. Heads held high, smiles on their faces..it made some neighbors wonder.."What do they tell 'em in church anyway?"..and you know, a couple of them stopped by to see for themselves and have been stopping by ever since.
Then the pipe started leaking. The toilet pipe. Leaking sewage all over the floor each time they used it. Mr. Cole, the landlord had been sidetracking her for weeks on the issue, as he did with all the other issues relating to the house since her husband passed on. The only issue he was interested in was payday.
They'd had an agreement. He'd made the pipes of inferior quality and had agreed to change them when they moved in. Two years had passed and now her worst fear was staring her in the face. She spent money patching it up several times but how in the world with seven extra mouths to feed was she going to get new pipes with a four figure salary?
She dropped notes on his door, pleaded with his wife, she even stopped by at his office a couple of times to remind him. She was tough and strong, Madam Julie. But at two o'clock that morning as she knelt to clean the bathroom floor because the bucket had filled up again and was overflowing, she broke down in sobs. The sky looked blue and she couldn't see a rainbow, the load was heavy and her shoulders weren't strong, her spirit was broken and she didn't have a song.so she prayed. There on the soiled bathroom floor. A prayer without words but heard by One Who is a Husband to the widow, a Father to the fatherless and a Friend to those who have none. In the quiet speckled with only the sounds of crickets, snores and tossing of those sleeping soundly, she heard a voice she knew too well."Keep knocking."
She turned around, the Voice was almost palpable. "Keep knocking." There again.
Oh but she'd knocked, she'd pleaded, she'd begged, she'd reasoned, debated, complained
Then came the idea.
"I'm going to keep knocking, in fact I'd knock so hard.he won't be able to sleep." The plan was so exciting she didn't sleep till hours later.
The next morning, two screams woke Madam Julie's household. The first was more of a bark actually, from Mr. Cole. The second was definitely a scream and that was Mrs. Cole. The children took a while rubbing their eyes after the rude awakening but Madam Julie was at the door before the anticipated knock. He had barely hit the door before it swung open.
"What in the world is a bucket ofbucket of..doing by the gate?" Mr. Cole bellowed pointing towards the gate.
"Oh I was going to see you about that this morning. The pipes are leaking worse than before and there's no way to dispose of it. I pour it in it comes right out. The bathroom drain has clogged up twice this week already. So I can't pour it in there. I'm clueless. We REALLY need a pipe job. Didn't sleep much last night cleaning up the floor. I truly hope you can help before it gets worse."
He glared at her for a second or two, glared at the troop that had lined up behind her, then snorted loudly and marched off angrily.
The Coles argued back and forth.
"Oh..but you cannot tell them to leave..they've paid for the year and the contract is binding. Besides, what do you think the neighbors would say? However do you intend to run for Chairmanship of the Estate if you do this?" Mrs. Cole impressed.
Madam Julie couldn't see them but she was pretty sure Mr. Cole was rubbing his pot-belly and stroking his chin the way he did when contemplating a matter and Mrs. Cole was wringing the edge of her blouse the way she did when trying to convince her husband.
It didn't happen the next day or the day after that but by the week's end, the Coles were sick of seeing a bucket of sewage every morning by the gate. They couldn't even sleep soundly knowing they'd be waking up to it. So the pipes got fixed. New, strong pipes. The best in the market the plumbers said. He even had the plumbers check the bathroom drain to make sure it didn't get clogged up again.
A sincere prayer of thanksgiving went up from every lip and heart in Madam Julie's household that night. Supper tasted better and Madam Julie sang all evening. She slept soundly that night and so did the children and they've have been sleeping soundly each night ever since.
Sometimes we need to keep knocking, sometimes harder, sometimes more often, sometimes in a not so conventional waybut keep knockingmaking your needs known.help will come.
Then Jesus used this story to teach His followers that they should pray and never lose hope.
".knock and the door will be opened to you.." MATTHEW 7:7.
Adetokunbo love sharing her faith through her stories and srticles. A medical doctor by profession, her hobbies include writing (of course!), singing, solving logic puzzles and creating christian paper craft. She is happily married to her best friend, Olumayowa.
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