All disagreements are results of misunderstanding someone else’s level of consciousness. – Deepak Chopra
My father and I sometimes disagree. Imagine that! It happened today, in fact. At age 87, he’s rather inactive. He’s legally blind so watching TV doesn’t appeal to him. He uses a walker and his back deters him from moving around much. But his ears are sharp. He could hear the sump pump in the basement going on and off. And he’s been insisting over the last few days that it wasn’t working right; that it was going on and off too frequently.
Now because I’m soon going away for a whole week and leaving my husband as my parents’ caretaker, I have a tight schedule of preparation and the sump pump was not on the list. If it was going on and off, I figured it was working alright down there in that little cement hole in the basement. I looked in the hole yesterday. Yes, it was working. I didn’t really pay attention to how MUCH water it was pumping from the hole. I could tell that it was emptying SOME water and that was enough for me.
My father had had me call the plumber six months ago about the exact same issue and the plumber had declared it perfectly functional.
This afternoon as I headed to the grocery store, my father was determined to do something about that pump. I, on the other hand, was determined NOT to do anything about the pump. We argued. I went so far as to tell him that he worried too much and he had “manufactured” this idea of the pump problem. Oh I was so darn sure.
When I got back home–lo and behold– the plumber pulled into the driveway behind me. That’s cool. I was glad that my father had enough energy and spunk to make the call himself. So often he depends on me. And whatever the plumber found–my father would take the professional’s word for it and his mind would be eased. But I was pretty sure that the pump would be declared A-OK.
Only it wasn’t, not exactly. The float that triggers the pump wasn’t working right. The 20 year old rubber band that held it vertically in the hole was broken so it tilted in a manner that inhibited the pump from emptying the hole fully. Not really a good thing, especially if during a rainy spell, the water rushed in fast.
Now, my father had purchased a replacement pump years ago…cause yes….he had once had his basement flooded from a mal-functioning pump. He is always a cautious man. So the plumber put that sucker in place and presto! The job was done. On top of that, I took the plumber around the basement to ask him a question that had been concerning me about the water system. And he discovered that one of the two water heaters that my parents have in their basement was not working!
Well, my father was gracious enough not to say to me “I told you so!” He was just so darned happy to know that he did not have to worry any more about that little sump pump. And he wouldn’t have to argue with me about whether to call the plumber.
And you know. I’m happy too. And I will admit it. I was wrong. AND I really wasn’t giving my father enough credit for knowing what he was talking about.
My teacher, Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha has taught that to be truly compassionate in an argumentative situation, we should say: “I understand. And you’re right.” I really missed a chance today to do just that.
Live and learn,