Tag Archives: water

Spiritual lessons learned from a wet basement

June 25, 2014

0 Comments

There are a lot of wet basements out there right now. While water seeps into my basement, sin keeps coming back into my heart. Photo/littlegreenfroggy. Licensed under Creative Commons

There are a lot of wet basements out there right now. As water seeps into my basement, sin keeps coming back into my heart. Photo/littlegreenfroggy. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Like other places in the country, Minnesota has been pretty wet this spring and early summer. With each major rainfall, I’ve had streams of water coming into my basement.

My house is 106 years old and when it rains hard, water seeps in from the four corners. In one spot, there had been some kind of a pump which was later removed (I have no idea why.) and a concrete patch was placed over the spot.

Water comes in through the patch and pools there, so that I frequently have to sweep the water down to the drain. (I am going somewhere with this.)

A stream through the basement

Five minutes after I sweep, as much or more water collects in that spot so that I have to keep pushing it down to the drain. After an especially heavy rainfall last week, water continued to come up through that patch for a few days after the rain stopped.

It has mostly dried up but more rain is forecast this week.

I am looking for a permanent solution but for now I can be thankful that there has only been a couple inches of water in the deepest spots.  Compared to what many others are dealing with, that’s not so bad.

This stream running through my basement (apparently there are actual underground streams throughout the neighborhood) made me think of a particular area of sin I struggle with.

Pride like rainwater coming in

Like the rainwater, pride seeps in,  collects in my heart and swells my head. I sweep it out when I go to confession. I pray the Litany of Humility and I think things are drying out but then pride finds its way back in with each new rainstorm.

Confessing my pride and praying for greater humility are necessary steps in overcoming this sin. But just as sweeping out the water doesn’t keep more from coming in, I need to stop pride at its source.

In a sermon, St. Benedict said pursuing humility is like setting up a ladder. When we act humbly we go up and when we praise ourselves we go down. He identifies 12 steps going up the ladder toward heaven.  Near the top it gets a little monk-oriented but I think lay people can benefit from it, too.

Charity pumps out pride

Ultimately, the pump that will keep out the water of pride is charity, as Cardinal Giovanni Bona wrote in the 17th century:

Pride is the root of every evil; charity, that of all goods. But you cannot plant the latter unless you have completely uprooted the former. Charity will teach you how to extirpate it, since it alone knows how to withstand the spirit of pride. You will be able to resist its spirit if you hide your virtues and show your defects. Then give much attention and consideration to the following as the source of the vice of pride: not to tolerate that others say of you what you willingly confess of yourself.

Continue reading...

Will ‘Big Muddy Blues’ be played for the St. Croix, too?

April 7, 2009

0 Comments

“Big Muddy Blues: True tales and twisted politics along Lewis and Clark’s Missouri River,”

by Bill Lambrecht

With the St. Croix being designated one of America’s top 10 most endangered rivers this week, folks who enjoy that luscious stream of water that separates some of eastern Minnesota from a chunk of western Wisconsin might want to pick up “Big Muddy Blues” and learn a few lessons.

Lessons about how the concerns of any number of people who care about and depend on a waterway can be at the mercy of political ambitions and organizations with clout.

Newspaperman Bill Lambrecht in a sense recreated much of the 1802-04 journey of discovery of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition, taking readers along the Missouri from near St. Louis up to the trout fishing haven in Montana where the river forms from three tributaries.

Lambrecht shows how the river has changed in the past 200 years — and why. Much of the why falls on the shoulders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the political maneuvering that led to the building of dams and dikes, of rerouting the Missouri from its natural course to ease barge traffic, of favoring the water needs of the lower river at the expense of native peoples and fishing interests in the Dakotas, among others.

Lack of enforcement of federal regulations — an issue that needs to be addressed along the St. Croix today — plays a role as well, but the biggest sin “Big Muddy Blues” points out may be our government’s disregard for scientific findings. Research doesn’t seem to hold much water — pardon the pun — if it means a member of Congress might lose a vote or two. And the empire that the Army Corps of Engineers has built for itself plays right along with the selfish politicians who can’t look past the next election to see how the research they are ignoring affects real people and endangered species, even going to the point of getting researchers transferred to other parts of the country!

“Big Muddy Blues” was published in 2005 under the Thomas Dunne Books imprint of St. Martin’s Press. It’s worth finding today, before more dirty water goes over the dams. — bz

Continue reading...