Our backyard grass has a big new gash – and not because of the heat and drought. We had a sewer back up. I won’t detail how we discovered this problem. A seventy –four years old house in Dallas is bound to have problems, even given a few major renovations. Seven decades ago, houses had clay or iron pipes that carried waste from the house to the miracle of city sewers. And the lots, upon which those houses were built, having been created from the division of land that had been cotton farms, needed trees. Those trees and other plantings developed roots and other debris that created problems in those pipes, buried four feet under in our back yard. And we had to correct a portion of such a problem.
Or, more accurately, [we had to] hire someone who knew how to dig a deep trench, extract the clay pipe, and replace it with a PVC extension. The professional also recommended using a chemical routinely to discourage further interior growth.
Assuming the lines may have been replaced in earlier renovations was wrong. Discounting the distance downward tree roots can run compounded the problem.
Roots running deep can entangle themselves around deeply laid pipes. Sometimes they can wrap so tightly around the pipe they crush it. Or, their tenacious tendrils will invade a poorly secured joint, invading the interior of the pipe, and clog it, obstructing the evacuation of waste from the house.
Looking at the gash in the back yard, remembering how deep the plumbing problem was – and how useless the old clay pipe was – reminded me of my part in squabbles and fallings out.
These impulses – assuming and discounting – can create emotional and spiritual back-ups. Our hearts and minds can become as sewer pipes, caught in the grip of roots and debris, crushed from the outside or clogged from the inside with deep hurts and wounds. Sometimes professionals can step in and help resolve the problems, but too often we may stuff the hurts of unresolved misunderstandings, disagreements and disappointments – assuming it is in the past, or discounting the harm we may have contributed. Having both southern and Irish roots – I can brood or wrap myself in self-righteousness and wholly discount how I might have hurt someone, or I assume they knew I was only joking.
Owning my part in a misunderstanding, argument, failure, or other interpersonal debacle is hard – especially when the other person is being the real jerk! However, my program says it’s not about what some one else does. (Step 10)
What matters is what I do – And I can control myself, just for today.
So, when I am wrong, even if provoked, admit it -- Never ruin an apology with an excuse. ~Kimberly Johnson
Deep down inside, I’d rather chew nails on most days than own my part in a conflict. However, believing that repaired is much better than ruined: I am learning not to choke on three little words: I was wrong.
“An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything. ~Lynn Johnston
Hopefully the grass will repair itself – not sure if apologizing to it would work.
Need help apologizing? Here’s a link to how to begin. SEVEN STEPS: How to Offer a Credible Apology
Other thoughts on why excuses convince few others than ourselves.