A Reason is Not an Excuse

A reason is a cleverly-disguised rationalization for behavior that we know is skewed from our moral compass. Reason lulls us into justifying actions that we know deep down aren’t good for us. 

Dating during a pandemic is hard. Whether single or married, COVID-19 makes relationships of all shapes and sizes challenging. Some of us are hungering to be held, while others are hankering for some space from our pandemic-bubbled spouse/partner/parent. Nerves are frayed; anxiety and depression are rearing their ugly heads in the wake of uncertainty.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Texans—myself included—were hit with an unprecedented cold front in February. Some lost power; some lost water; some lost both; some experienced broken pipes and utter destruction of their homes. Now there was COVID and a lack of heat, water, electricity. 

A person’s character under stress is like a developing photograph in a dark room: the truth of who a person is, a person’s substance is revealed through adversity. That adversity can be physical, mental or spiritual. Regardless of the flavor of one’s challenge, how we respond makes all the difference.

I look at Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture. Every day and night, McIngvale opened the doors to his furniture stores, offering anyone who didn’t have food, shelter, heat or water to come by his store and stay as long as they needed. So much generosity—during a pandemic of all times—is a compassionate choice. He didn’t need a reason to open his heart and his stores to the public, 24/7; he didn’t need to excuse or rationalize his decision to be generous and kind. One never needs a reason to be thoughtful nor search for an excuse to defend it.

Yet when we consider Senator Ted Cruz and his impromptu getaway to Mexico, we can literally hear Cruz rationalize, offering the public a reason for his Cancun trip in the midst of an unprecedented winter storm in the state he represents: He decided to fly out to the Ritz Carlton in Cancun because he wanted to be “a good dad.” (www.cbsnews.com) His wife, Heidi Cruz, also reasoned their escape from Houston because their house was “FREEZING.” 

But a reason is not an excuse. A reason is a cleverly disguised rationalization for behavior that we know is skewed from our moral compass. Reason lulls us into justifying actions that we know deep down aren’t good for us. 

One unprecedented storm, two public figures. Their reaction to the same events couldn’t be more different. We are all going to face storms in our lives—metaphorical or literal. It’s up to each of us to consider our reactions, our actions under duress. When we make the choice to live by our inner compass, we won’t feel compelled to reason.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to Jim McIngvale for opening your heart and doors to Texas. Thank You for bolstering our state’s character and compassion.

The Gift of a Broken Pipe

Happiness can often be found in the least place you’d expect…

Earlier this week, my neighbor called me. 

“Sheri, there’s water coming out from your garage door. Are you home?”

No, I wasn’t home. It was also rush hour, that time of day when you can double the time it takes you to arrive anywhere.

“If you are okay with it, I’d like to call my plumber.”

You know it’s not good when your neighbor is eager to call a plumber on your behalf. 

“The water from your garage is spilling onto my side.

Fortunately, the plumber (Daniel Barrientos—professional and informative) arrived within 30 minutes of receiving my neighbor’s call. 

In order to determine the problem (broken PVC pipes) and implement a solution (new PEX pipes), I would need to go without water for 24 hours.

Going sans water for any amount of time is challenging, but not having water in the midst of a pandemic after working outside both that day and the next, well…let’s just say I wasn’t looking forward to the experience.

Yet losing access to water offered me two unexpected gifts: knowledge and appreciation. Here’s what I learned in those LONG 24 hours:

  1. A toilet requires A LOT of water in order to flush (1.6 gallons per flush—Source: SFGATE). 
  • PVC pipes are inexpensive and easy to work with, but they can only be used for cold water
  • PEX pipes are extremely versatile and temperature tolerant (Source: Olympus Insurance)
  • The PVC pipes on my home were repaired several times before by the previous owner, though never actually replaced

When the water finally, blessedly was turned back on 24 hours later, I started singing, literally singing. There was water to cook with, bathe with, wash my hands with, make coffee with, clean with—it was HEAVEN ON EARTH!

Did I want to experience 24 hours without fresh running water? Absolutely not. But the appreciation I felt after that first shower was a true gift. Washing my hands under running water was a gift. Throwing clothing into my laundry machine to wash felt luxurious. Blow drying my clean, soap-scented hair felt amazing and hearing the steady hum of the dishwasher once again rendered me on top of the world.

Maybe you are reading this considering a metaphorical or literal “broken pipe” in your own life. Sometimes, it’s the broken pipe that helps you feel whole again. Sometimes, we need to lose something in order to recall its invaluableness.

Our perception of life creates our reality. Prior to the broken pipes, I took water for granted, didn’t even notice it. It was only in its absence that I felt parched on every level for it; only with the limited supply in my drawn bathtub that appreciation for it grew.

Losing water, if only for a mere 24 hours, raised my appreciation for it tenfold. When we appreciate something, we are dwelling in a happy space. 

Wishing you a deep and far appreciation of this life and all of its gifts.