“Go Live in the Country” They Said

“Go live in the country.” they said.

“It’ll be fun.” they said.

These thoughts were running through my head as I attempted to dig down to my septic tank. Apparently, according to the septic guy I had over to clean my tank, (that I had conveniently not checked for 6.5 years) someone had buried the access and now it was up to me to find it for him. I asked if I should call in a mini backhoe, but he said that a shovel would be best. So five by five feet later and 3 feet down I was back at the little square plate that had been resting above ground. The little 4 inch by 4 inch square plate that I had pointed to and said, “There’s my septic access.” (Though of course I wasn’t super sure because I had never yet bothered to check on my septic tank––I was content to ignore it as long as it as long as my toilets still flushed and nothing was coming back up).

“Nooo. That’s not a septic access. I’m looking for 2 big round concrete covers.” He was adamant that what we were looking at was NOT my septic access.

“This is all there is. This is what I was told was my septic access!” I was frustrated because I had been on this acreage for 6.5 years and knew there was nothing like what he was searching for.

So we scraped back the over-grown grass from the bolts and worked at getting the bolts out and then tried to pry the lid off to no avail. He insisted that this was not my septic access but a base for a tower or something and that is why I was shoveling a massive hole in my backyard to find the supposedly buried access. But alas, I was right. The little square plate connected to a pipe, that obviously connected to the septic tank I had exposed the top of. I know, because I fully exposed it. Enough to realize that the concrete was crumbling a bit at the bottom of the pipe and if I poked my finger into the hole, vile gasses wafted upwards.

My exposed septic access.

My exposed septic access.

I was not exactly happy. Problems were being created that I just didn’t need to have. In my head, the bill for the simple septic flush I had ordered skyrocketed from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars.

I got on the phone and on the computer and before I knew it, I was learning far more about septic tanks and septic companies than I wanted to know. With my husband working away from home, I called my dad and then my brother-in-law for help and it was a darn good thing the brother-in-law answered and had an idea of what needed to be done.

He was quick to come help the next day and despite being told by another septic company (I had sent pictures of my exposed septic access to them) that I needed to get a welder to cut the bolts on the bottom plate and borrow a tractor to rip off the old pipe access so that they could “hopefully” install a new access and modernize the cover, he helped my repair the original access I had and assured me that I did not need to go to all that trouble.

He stayed there, a calming influence, as the new septic guys came and groaned and fussed about the tiny access, but made sure they got the job done and I didn’t come away with an exorbitant bill. What a great guy!

Anyway, all this got me thinking of how often we leave things that are so essential and foundational, buried until something or someone makes us dig it all up and then before we know it we are in a whole lot more trouble than we figured. It’s so easy to forget things that are out-of-sight, out-of-mind, so easy to forget how important they are to our well-being. And I’m not just talking septic tanks here, I’m talking about our emotional well-being and our spiritual well-being.

If you are anything like me, sometimes it’s just easier to ignore things that are buried, rather than go to all the trouble of digging them up. Life is good and floating along just dandy, but always in the back of your mind you know you should really take care of that thing––you know that thing you’ve stuffed down, pushed back, said you’d deal with when you have the time or the strength or the energy––that thing that is some day gonna rear it’s ugly head and take a chunk outa you.

So one day you get proactive and you start digging. You ask people for advice; people you think should know about that kind of stuff; people who advertise knowing about that kind of stuff. Professional people even. But they are USELESS. Worse than useless. They give you faulty advice, because they aren’t very knowledgeable or only have limited experience, but apply that limited experience in broad strokes to cover all areas. It causes damage and unnecessary spiritual or emotional excavating that leaves gaping wounds.

So you scout around, a little more wary. You start asking better questions. And you get a avalanche of answers and stories and advice. As you sift through it all, you start to get a better picture of what needs to be done, and you are more careful to double check what people are telling you to do––not so quick to take it as truth just yet.

As well, you become more adept at telling people your situation. You don’t just throw a bunch of words out and hope someone understands, because that isn’t going to happen you realize after being burned once or twice. You need to be more clear, more precise, more certain of what you need done. You gain knowledge and understanding and eventually if you are lucky you end up with someone at your side, who is trustworthy and has a clear understanding of what you need to do––what is necessary for healing and what is unnecessary.   And when you find that someone, realize how blessed you are for having them in your life! These people are the ones who can help you deal with that thing; they can support, they can give wise counsel and they can keep you from following faulty advice.

So from septic tanks to buried emotional baggage, be careful who you listen to and take advice from; not everyone is qualified to speak into your life.

And you don’t have to follow everyone out there even if they are sincere and genuinely adamant in their opinion––even if they are a professional. Find those people who care about you more, than just getting the job done, and surround yourself with them.

On the other hand, give leniency to those who’ve hurt you in advising you wrongly––who’ve caused unnecessary damage or unknowingly wounded you––because it is likely they are only acting out of their own limited knowledge and experience and didn’t realize that their suggestions didn’t fit your situation.

As well, if you are the one doing the advising, don’t assume you know it all! Make sure you are listening and not just talking. Be careful that you aren’t just taking over, or taking advantage of them while they are trusting you to help them figure things out.  Be straightforward and honest with what you know and don’t know.  I have found this goes along ways with people looking for help in all kinds of situations.  And I know because I’m usually the one looking for help!

So I hope you won’t find yourself digging holes in the near future, but if you do, know that I’ve been there (both physically and spiritually lately) and it all works out if you have the right kind of people helping you!

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