(written June 2015)
There is a line from one of the Star Trek series where the Klingon character is wont to say “today is a good day to die”.
What a dumb thing to say.
One of the defining characteristics of the human race is we cling to life. The exceptions of those who succumb to depression and suicide not withstanding.
But, still, I liked the phrase “today is a good day to….”
Yesterday was, I found, just such a day where I could use the phrase.
We are trying to sell the flat in Istanbul, and after a year of fruitless effort, I determined, in spite of what people kept advising me, that I would do some ‘tarting’ up of the flat.
So, I engaged a shop to replace the laminate flooring upstairs that was damaged in a unique flood from the terrace some years back. I also engaged a painter to redo the paint in the back three bedrooms – the walls had begun to peel and the ceiling had suffered due to rain water leaking through from the terrace above.
We had done some work to fix the terrace and we had high hopes that it would do the trick. Alas, our hopes were dashed, but I still had a degree of hope that all our efforts and expense would have had an effect on the leak and, at the very least, it would have diminished.
The painter seemed like a good, knowledgeable chap and worked diligently, if a bit slowly. To be fair, repairing the peeling paint and taking measures to ensure that the problem would not, hopefully, reoccur has proven to be time consuming. We had limited time available, and so timing and the amount of time required was paramount.
The peeling walls were proving to be a stubborn nut to crack with no obvious cause for the phenomenon. At times, after cleaning, applying some special compound to fix the wall, plaster, then a base coat and finally the finish coat, the new paint would exhibit small defects which, in time, would once again peel.
So the painter started over in those places, right back to the base and redid the whole process. Sometimes he had to repeat the procedure a couple of times.
But, he was winning. It was eating up valuable time, but he was winning.
We had two days of rain, the first had bouts of intense but short lived downpours and on the second day, on-off short drizzles. Certainly nothing noteworthy.
Then the painter called me.
I didn’t want to go. Men, often we either live in denial, or we prefer ignorance. I didn’t want to hear what the painter had to say….
But I answered the call and went.
“Climb the ladder” said he, and up I went.
There, next to the coving, a wee dark spot. I extended my finger, touched the spot and the drop of water transferred to me. My finger also penetrated the plaster which hadn’t even begun to consider the possibility of setting.
This was a set back.
This was bad news.
This was an insurmountable problem – there is no quick fix.
Here it was, the perfect opportunity to say: “Today is a good day to say ‘God is good'”.
Often we make such declarations when things go good, when things turn out right or nice or the way we desire. It naturally tumbles off our lips when things go well.
But God is always good.
When things go the way we wish, or all things come together, or a dream is realised, yes God is good, and yes it is most appropriate to so declare that God is good in those situations. But, God is always good.
God is always good.
God is always loving.
God is always “working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose”. Always.
But, when things do not turn out right, when our dreams lies shattered at our feet – never to rise again, when everything that can go wrong, does go wrong, when people disappoint, when health sputters and sometimes fails, when we feel very alone in this world, then, yes, then it is a good time to declare, “God is good”.
Because He is, He always is.
And so with the potential sale price of the flat being lowered relentlessly, with the costs of essential repairs and remedial cosmetic work mounting and with the now self-declared water leak thwarting our decorative endeavours, this is a prime time to remember, to meditate on and to declare that “God is good”.
Because He is.
Today, in this set of circumstances, is a good day to proclaim that God is good.