a spontaneous poem typed from my heart to yours after much deep thinking to overcome feeling violated when a handyman proved not so handy
Its just a sink
many would say
cept why were the tears flowing
as I watched her being disassembled yesterday?
She’s grown tired and looked really worn and used…
I had thought replacing with something fresh was a wise thing to do…
(her plyboard material not able to be repurposed or reused).
Now two pieces spread across a floor
the sink vanity combo I’ve used for three years maybe four
“It’s just a sink…it’s dated and ready to pitch”
“Better for resale value to replace with something granite”
“People like things new and fresh”
All the opinions I’ve heard while at Lowe’s or online or from handyman to folks who stage properties…most think one must keep their asset shiny and looking mighty fine
But for me, someone who doesn’t always think about the value of stuff
I’ve had to pause and look at appliance and am satisfied that it works and functions…
The pressure to dump and renovate, modernize it and keep it new
Is all of that truly necessary…I dont want to live for that someday of what with this asset I may or may not do…
And this is worth asking though not the point of this poem:
Are we so accustomed to replacing with new shiny we take for granted the privilege of flowing water and plumbing?
That day I saw the sink tugging at my heart
Trying to whisper to me a story as if she wanted to share her part….
a glimpse of a time when this building was once a movie house…
and the vision of one man who turned it into an apartment complex...
It was if the sink was saying to me
“Wait and seek out the why I was originally installed”
(I know that sounds corny but that’s how I give closure to stuff and things before I let them journey on…)
This dear man must have seen the demand of the day
People needing smaller living spaces
and so he created floors in what was once The Strand Theater and divided them up
and where once was a screen now were a few little apartments
and for 30 years this man was a landlord, maybe for some more of a lord, caring for their needs for sure
and here I met him years later after he’d condo’d them out and now I stood asking:
“is my replacing his sink respecting enough what his vision built?*
This is a man who mothers and fathers the structure of this space like no one I’ve ever seen.
He’s out there plowing snow doesn’t matter what time of the evening,
He’s up on the roof shoveling off the ice rather timely
He’s always readying up a new space for it’s new guest to come and feel welcome.
Yet have I listened enough to the story behind what birthed this building enabling this sink to even be installed?
Yes, I am the owner of this space and now under my watch
I tend to mother everything I own and don’t wish one speck to appear neglected or go unloved.
Yet I have to pause and wonder before I discard or throw away something from another’s creating
Have I appreciated the vision behind this building’s originating?
Have I adequately sought out and listened to why things were or how things were done the way they were that day?
Yes it’s the historian in me but it’s also the metaphysician who wants to hug up ever seasoned person I see and thank him or her for her being and individuality and vision…
And in those moments staring at the sink sitting aside in the hallway
I couldn’t help but wonder what is it that makes us all want to do things differently…
And this is also not the point of this poem but is worth considering as I pen this poem:
Are we so eager to make our statement in our (mobile living) ways that without much thought
we tare down or toss out the structures that have housed the threads of a community, our lives for decades?
or take for granted all the laws, all the thought, that’s ensured their safe maintaining and sturdy standing…
and not just housing but institutions...
and not just institutions but ways of living and being…
Don’t we somewhat owe those who’ve gone before asking:
‘What brought all of us here today to this luxury of mobile living and being‘
even the ability to walk around looking at a device freely instead of being confined to one location
or unable to exercise the privilege of free thinking and speaking…
But back to the man and the vision that created this building…
There I am pondering and seeing the face of the sink I’ve circled in the photo above (see the blue circle)
And who comes up the stairs but this man and with him his legacy too
and really I was pondering and praying for a next step…
(the handy man i had turned out not to be too handy)
And I hear:
“Gettin’ rid of it?” and I could not just say yes.
Not only did I not want him to think of me as a throw away wasteful one
but just a week earlier standing in the same hallway
He’d spoken to me not so very pleasant.
I couldn’t harbor resentment offer up a simple ‘yep’
I wanted to pause and turn and simply thank him.
I had to honor his vision in building this housing structure
— one way I seek to forgive and strive to love is to find the good and value it in someone —
and so I genuinely asked him:
“When you designed this building and were readying up each apartment home, tell me what you were thinking…what made you choose American Standard sink vanities or Delta faucets?
All of a sudden, a gruff face began to smile….and he lit up like a little boy who has so much pride inside!!!
And he took me by the hand (yes this very one who called me the biggest problem to our building just last week)
and inside my bathroom he pointed something out to me…
“See that they-ah…” in that twang that you know someone is from the north.
I said “yes…yes i do…”
“I wanted the sink and the counter to level off to the height of those tiles…”
And oh what a story do I have for you.
and what followed was rather dear to my heart, for some would call it kinda holy.
Here in my bathroom standing face to face with one who last week had been yelling
He spoke with glee about the crew that helped him work
In that bathroom at that hour
I learned about the human hearts that put sweat equity in
from the tile on the floor to the tiles on the walls
to when they installed the bathtubs and added showers and all
And maybe our hearts are a bit different when it comes to air quality
and what you can and cannot enforce in a smoke free building
But those disagreements aside, he looked at my selection of sink and replied
“Wow. She’s sure pretty.
You’re obviously not moving and gonna turn around and get a tenant.’
And I asked “How do you mean?”
He insisted ‘No tenant is gonna take care of that…tenants just don’t care about nice stuff.’
And see this is where thought jumped back into now
Where I sensed disappointment, frustration, and apathy toward tenants’ relationships he’s had
Yet since I always rented up til just a few years ago
always believing in the good of people more than the not,
always cherishing every sofa floor studio motel room apartment I’ve ever had as my then home,
I have to trust that if I ever rented this space out,
a new inhabitant will appreciate this sink and likely
make a happy home here in this nest for now.
But rather than challenge his verdict of tenant behavior
More did I want to appreciate his creation.
So I thanked him for sharing the stories of the thought that went into finding the things that comprised the now bathroom of mine.
and as we walked him toward the front door, he turned back and me and said
“I’m gonna look for a few extra tiles for you where I think you may need to fit em in.”
And off he climbed the steps to descend
such a complete different interfacing with this dear man
and it just goes to show me yet again tis true
even when we receive the harshest of criticism from someone
their anger is not their true them.
and they’re not really yelling at me or you.
Since he confronted me a week ago I’ve worked in thought to defend what’s governing this building is Principle
And in that exchange in the bathroom and his genuine kindness in sharing
I felt really freed of the residue of his former accusations.
But i will continue to insist on the goodness of this man and every landlord
and so many others that have chosen to unleash at me their outbursts…
and thinking about how grateful I am that his disposition today toward me was gentle and generous
I turned to my old sink and cabinet and said:
“Thank you…for not only serving me but all that have used you in former years.’
and that was the closure I needed
that was the gift of removing this sink
and maybe that’s the beauty of a treasure that DID today happen
not the letting go of a not so handy handy man
and the overwhelming feeling of what do I do now
but in those moments that followed
I was able to share with the man that built this building
and hear his sense of vision.
So wrapping up this heart felt poem what am I saying for me and you?
Well, especially when renovating and restoring projects aren’t coming together
there is always a gift of learning the vision behind the building waiting for me and you
And even so very much more do I wanna say:
the very one who yelled at you today or yesterday or a year ago or more
probably has yet to teach you the gem of their being…and my heart to yours…as you’re able ….try to keep open your thought compassion door…
you may hear their knock in the way they’re able (a bang instead of a tap)
you may hear a new view of their now as you are willing (maybe it’s rather down and sad and depressed)
its perhaps the hardest most difficult thing to do
but i would prefer to keep trying with everyone…
than pitch em or treat em like a finished object and act like i’m done with you. (like i used to….)
Here’s to hearing and listening to and the seeing another’s view….
It holds such deep lessons of the beauty another sees
and is what keeps me a trying to be Love through and through.
My heart to yours….
May we never “be done” with a tender who may have been harsh someone
May we also realize a sink doesn’t have feelings…
But I will probably always shed a tear when saying goodbye to a thing
That’s served me well, hugged me up, and been a part of moments that have given me wings.
“Innocence and truth overcome guilt and error…” ~ Mary Baker Eddy