3/21/2005

TURN AROUND FROM CONTEMPT

I woke up this morning saying, “Nobody likes you” to myself. Literally, the alarm clock went off, and I heard myself say those words. I don’t know if I said them out loud, or if they were merely in my head. That could have been a very bad way to start a day.

I am not certain if I was dreaming, and this statement was part of that dream, or if some ghouly demon was whispering in my ear as I slept. All I know about waking up this morning was that it has been the low point of my day.

Normally, waking up is a good thing. I wake up cheerful most of the time, but this morning, I was apprehensive, and I am pretty sure I know the reason. The words “Nobody likes you” were crossing back and forth in my mind. I know they are not true, so whatever was going on in my sleep was an item of falseness that I was able to wave away with the back of my hand. Still, there was an uneasiness about it, even though I knew the truth. What could have caused me to be saying this as I woke?

I didn’t spend much time pondering that question, because I had a dreadful day planned. Friday, I left the jobsite angry, having given the owner some advice which he promptly ignored, and thus made my job harder by a factor of two. Or three. Or maybe even five. It doesn’t matter, the fact is, I was angry leaving the jobsite, and I was facing the problem this morning yet again.

Something must have happened between Eight AM and Eleven AM this morning, because when I got to work, the owner still wanted me to pursue making plans to ignore my advice, which basically meant trying to accomplish the building of something which in its current design would have failed utterly. I would have built it, showed the owner it wouldn’t work, and then had to re-engineer it, and build it all over again. Most people who know me also know thatI cannot stand doing things twice, or having to do things over. Further complicating this would have been having to do it over knowing I had been right the first time.

But I reminded myself that I must be patient, because the owner does not always understand what we try to tell him, and I mustn’t lose my temper just because his area of expertise has absolutely nothing to do with carpentry. In short, it’s his money, and if I gave him an honest answer, yet he still decided to make the wrong decision, then there was simply nothing I could do about it. Trust me, this is not an easy place for me to get to in my heart. But it happened this morning.

Sometime within the first three hours of the day, I found myself preparing to do the project as the owner originally asked, knowing full well I’d have to do it all over again. Somehow I had accepted it, and wasn’t angry anymore. Then came the miracle. Around Eleven AM, the owner walked up to me, and said, “I think we aren’t going to do this the way we originally thought (or words similar to that).” In essence, without saying so out loud, he was telling me to go ahead with the way I had advised on Friday.

I could have been spared a lot of anger, and even some anxiety over the weekend had this decision been made Friday like I suggested it be. But then I would not have had the opportunity to grow up. I was angry not because I was concerned about the owner wasting money. Rather, I was angry for very personal and selfish reasons. Once I stopped, and turned around to face the truth; that this project isn’t about what I want, I was able to accept the owner’s decision, right or wrong, knowing I had done my best to try and save him some money. The change of mind for me was necessary this time, and hopefully, next time, I will stop, and turn around mentally immediately, rather than chew on contempt for the owner all weekend long.

In the end, that’s what this was all about; a vivid lesson in walking away from contempt. I was right in my initialadvice, but I was wrong in my heart toward the owner, so my contempt was definitely not justified. Today, I grew up a little bit more, and this day, despite its beginning, was a good day after all.

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