Last week I was at the completion of my morning walk when a truck drove up into my driveway. The driver got out of the vehicle and approached me. He said that he did tree trimming and removal and asked if there was anything I would like cleaned up in my yard. I thought about it a moment and then said come with me. I walked over to the west side of our property and showed him about an acre that was overgrown with brush. I said I would be interested in having the brush cleared in this area.
We were able to negotiate a price and later in the day he asked for an advance to pick up the equipment he needed. I agreed, wrote him a check and the next morning he arrived with a crew. It became apparent there may be issues when he told me the man in charge of the crew would clear the land and that I would pay the balance of what was contracted directly to him. I asked him what he was intending to do as I had no intention of managing this job in his place. It felt strange but I had agreed to a price to have the area cleared and as long as it was completed then that should be enough. After all, this wasn’t the first time a contractor subcontracted work.
Although they had estimated two days to complete the work the job appeared to be much more difficult I called the contractor and complained about his lack of involvement. I had given him an advance for equipment and dump fees and he had not used it for anything. I was certain I had been taken advantage of and it was plaguing my mind. After five days the work was mostly complete except for a small area. Several times during the week I had thought to reduce the area that needed to be cleared and had actually asked for one area to remain as it was. On Friday night the subcontractor asked me if it was ok to come back on Saturday morning to complete the work. I told him that was fine and thanked him for all the extra effort expended.
On Saturday things got complicated. The subcontractor came but did not start any work. Instead he worked on his loader and then loaded it on his trailer. He then came to my door and requested payment. I said we needed to walk the area first and I proceeded around the house to the area being cleared. Once there I pointed out the work that was yet to be completed whereupon he explained to me that he was being underpaid for the job and felt that he had gone above and beyond. He stated the equipment was needed on another contract on Monday and he did not have any more time to give the job, he felt he had done all that was agreed but if I felt otherwise I could just pay him what I thought it was worth. I told him I could not pay until all work was complete and that he would need to come back later as I needed to contact the original contractor. As he left I felt strange. It seemed to me that all that I had wanted to get done was done but I needed more. “Why,” I asked myself. Was it because I felt the contractor had been untruthful?
So, there I was left with my thoughts. I asked myself what is important to me? Many times during the week I had thought there were areas that did not need to be touched and then I had thought that the only thing in those areas that needed to be done was the removal of a couple of trash piles consisting of old fence, cinder blocks and fallen trees. These had all been removed per my request. The overgrowth was cleared as well, so what was bothering me; did I suddenly expect more to be accomplished because I had control of the final payment? Had I become greedy? I asked myself again what I had done.
It is so easy to lose track of yourself to the point that you begin feeding the negative energy that surrounds us. A simple word spoken by me can lead to worry, stress, and difficult days for someone else. It is not my intent to feed the negative energies but they know me better than I know myself and it only takes a little coaxing and then they are dining gluttonously on all the bitterness and anger created.
In my previous posting I talked about managing expectations and in this was an example of what can happen when expectations are communicated but not understood. As I thought about all of this I felt somewhat hypocritical. I had written about the need to manage expectations in order to reduce conflict however I had let my expectations grow and the result was the conflict I would expect. I was upset with the contractor and subcontractor, the subcontractor was upset with the contractor and me and the contractor was upset with the subcontractor. The only ones that seemed to be enjoying all of this were the negative energies.
What is important to you? Is money and property important? Perhaps it is your education or your job. Perhaps you want all the best things that life can offer. But then, what are the best things in life? Do you know? What is it that brings peace and comfort to your heart?
God created us from love; God is Love; Love is God. Because we are created this way our soul always searches for the path back to home; back to Love. For this reason, we are at peace in our hearts when we are surrounded by our family and close friends. Often we find this peace when we meet a stranger. The stranger may be someone that we don’t know now, but someone our soul recognizes.
So, do you know the answer about what is important to you?
Always remember, God loves you.