How to Fix a Wall (after the plumber leaves)

I’ll admit it. My husband Gene and I bought a house that needed, well, shall we say, some attention. But it was perfect in one way. “Location, location, location,” as my Dad, the real estate broker, used to say!

Gene only lived there for a year before he passed away. I stayed for five more. And there were some things that needed, well, shall we say, some attention!

I’ve never claimed to be a fixer-upper type of person. I’m more of an enjoyer. So when the bathroom shower began to leak from behind the wall onto the bathroom floor, I can honestly say I wasn’t enjoying my home. 

As I was mopping the floor, I was also on the phone, trying to find a trustworthy plumber. Turned out to be a friend of a friend kind of thing. He came quickly and repaired what was, for him, an easy problem to fix. In the process, he had to remove a wall panel and made a bit of a mess. Not nearly as bad as a giant puddle of water that was threatening to invade the rest of my house, though. 

As he was cleaning up his mess, I politely asked about the needed repairs to the wall. “That’s not my job,” he politely told me. And then he was gone.

It only took about a minute for me to realize that I had a non-leaking shower and a giant opening in my bathroom wall.  What to do?

Step 1. Cry. I did that immediately. To the tune of that old Linda Ronstadt song “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” But the wall was still gaping at me.

Step 2. Get angry. And that’s saying a lot for me, a person who has next to no permission to get angry. I stomped and pounded the counter and the opposite wall and the floor. But the wall was still gaping at me.

Step 3. Size up the situation. Yep. I was right. This job was too big and way beyond my area of expertise.

Step 4. Panic. This house was in a rural area. Who knew what kind of animals might try to get in through this opening? And that check I just wrote the plumber? Well, I believe that’s called an unexpected expense.

Step 5. Fret. There was no one who can help me! I couldn’t afford to hire another contractor to complete the job. Repeat Steps 1 through 4.

Step 6. Get a grip. Okay, take a deep breath. Pray about this. Then be a responsible, thinking, reasoning adult. What is the best, smartest, most efficient way to solve this problem? Gulp. Ask for help. That’s even harder for me than getting angry is!

Step 7. Email. I sent an email (pre-Facebook) to my friend Leonard, a professional engineer and a high school classmate of mine. A polite request, something like: “Do you know anyone in our class who might be able to help me repair a wall in my bathroom?”

Step 8. Shock. Leonard quickly replied that he would be glad to help! 

Step 9. Watch a miracle. Leonard arrived on the scene. I watched in amazement as our student body president and football team quarterback repaired my damaged wall. And made it look easy while he was doing it.

Step 10. Thanks. I’m still saying thanks to Leonard for helping me not totally lose it that day. And I’m still saying thanks to God for my friends Leonard Hopkins and Larry Davis and all the other people God has sent into my life to help me over these past 13 years as a widow.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stuck, angry, frustrated or any other negative feeling today, take a risk and ask for help. God has an army of helpers waiting to help you.

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them” (Romans 12:13).