When I came down the stairs in the morning I came with an armful of laundry. I threw it in the washing machine and then proceeded to sit at my desk and catch up on a few things. I did hear a not-quite-usual water sound as I typed away. Normally, I’d instantly go check things out. For no good reason, on this morning I did not.
Luckily for us, it wasn’t many minutes later that Jim opened the door to the laundry room on his way to the garage, and stepped into a lake of water. He called out, I came running, we got the machine turned off and set to work. The floor wasn’t just a bit wet; it was a lake. Using a bucket and mop, one of those spinning kinds we had purchased after an impossible-to-resist demonstration at the Stampede one year, we were able to get most of it up. We still didn’t really know where the problem lay. Our first suspicion was the machine itself. But once we pulled it out from against the wall, we could see the lines drawing water into the machine were completely dry. Jim suggested I turn the machine on again so he could locate the source of the problem.
It took mere seconds to discover that the water draining from the machine during the spin cycle, was flowing down the tube which went into a pipe, and there it met up with a completely frozen pipe, causing it to back up and spew everywhere. We both had the same thought; we definitely had a frozen pipe, and it was possible it had burst. This led us to the basement, to the room directly under the laundry room. Sure enough, there was water, water, everywhere here too.
Again, we mopped and dried and tried to see if there was still an open source. There did not appear to be. As we took a minute to figure out next steps, Jim turned and spotted another problem. I won’t give the exact quote but suffice it to say he did NOT say, ‘Oh wow, isn’t that a coincidence! Our hot water heater is also leaking all over the other end of the floor’.
That’s kind of how the day went. Water, water everywhere.
Much, much later that day, once the floors were dry, the plumber had come and gone, the new hot water tank was ordered for Tuesday, and we were sitting dumbfounded, I picked up something to read. I read about a vineyard in Oregon. It sits at the base of a large mountain. One of the things giving it its value is the water draining off the mountain, has, for hundreds of years, been providing rich nutrients to the soil, allowing it to produce incredible grapes used to make valuable wines.
I had to chuckle to myself. Even in my attempt to escape the day, I found water.
Water drips into all our lives. Sometimes we get lucky and experience the predictable and steady runoff of nourishing comments, acceptance, compassion, and uplifting encouragement. Even if we have one person who provides such a steady and positive influence in our lives, we know we hold a gift. Sometimes we experience more than a drip, we experience a rush of water, so much of it we can’t quite process it all at once. My friend Betty found herself in this position last week after she was deluged with kind calls and emails following a medical procedure. Sometimes in our surprise at this kind of outpouring, we start to mop up the ‘mess’, trying to get back to normal, before we can even absorb the beauty of the gestures. Luckily Betty had the wisdom to remind herself to ‘be a gracious receiver’, as she accepted her calls and visits, texts and emails.
The flip side of the water dilemma is that we also drip onto others. In a perfect world, we’d each drip kindness, love, acceptance, compassion, tolerance and steadfastness. We’d do this regularly. It would become part of the fabric of who we are. Alas, in a world that has taken more from us than she has given this past year, many of us find ourselves dripping attributes we wouldn’t want used to describe us too often.
Jim and I were able to find a good solution to our water problems. The frozen pipe is thawed, and the new hot water tank installed. These drips were temporary. Some of the other drips we receive and offer up to others are not so fleeting; words last, actions have consequences and feelings endure.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What am I dripping?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to be a drip – a great drip!.