Precarious Old Plumbing Pipes and The Peacemaking Lessons They Taught

Precarious Pipes became a Powerful Tutor

Backed up sewers because of old, unresolved plumbing problems in a former home became an unexpected tutorial on how to make peace. I pass along the lessons — But, maybe you have never fallen out with some one. You can skip this, then. Come back to it though if do.

When we remodeled our home, we assumed the sewer lines had been upgraded. That was dumb. The house was old; the land was older. 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.

Our mistake was assuming a previous owner probably had replaced this plumbing. So, we had to correct a portion of such a problem.

Or, more accurately, we hired 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.

My Humble Point

What does this have to do with keeping, or making peace with loved ones?

Repair meant restoring a Gash

Remembering the size of the gash in the back yard the repair created, and 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.

First, assuming we know the depth of our own brokenness and discounting another’s can cause a lot of stuff to back up in a relationship.

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.

poor pipes for peace
A reminder why peace can break down

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.

Sometimes we assume since a hurt is in the past, so, we discount 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. I assume they knew I was only joking.

So, Here’s what I learned

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 a repaired line of communication is much better than ruined one, 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


Thanks for reading. May God bless your heart, life, and recovery with peace, dear reader.

Love in Christ,

Sober and Grateful

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Precarious Old Plumbing Pipes and The Peacemaking Lessons They Taught
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