Hole for the Holidays

Early Friday afternoon, one of my employees came into my office to tell me that the carpet under her desk was soaking wet. What? It didn’t take long to figure out there was a leak somewhere in the wall next to her desk.

Terrific. You never want something like this, especially on a deadline-heavy Friday afternoon.

After a quick call to the property maintenance people, a plumber was dispatched to see if he could fix the problem. I was told he would be there in fifteen minutes. Awesome! I optimistically hoped he could knock the out with as minimal a disruption as possible.

An hour later, when he arrived, I was a bit peeved, but didn’t say anything. I showed him the water and we checked out the exterior wall opposite the leak, hoping it was maybe just a leaky valve or hose bib. He went to work, and I raced back to my work.

A few minutes later he came back in and told me the leak was definitely coming from inside the wall. Bummer. We moved some people around and he brought in a big sheet of plastic and began covering the work station. I asked him why, and he replied that he would need to cut into the wall. Double bummer.

While he was prepping, I remembered something: The main water line in our building runs up above the false ceiling. So I made a suggestion:

“Instead of cutting into the wall, would you please look at the pipes above the ceiling, just in case that’s where the leak is? I’d rather you not tear into the wall if you don’t need to.”

He nodded and continued his work.

A couple minutes later I hear the sound of a saw. I jumped up and ran back into the room yelling loud enough to be heard over the roar of the reciprocating saw:

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Hang on a second.” The saw stopped and the plumber looked at me with a fair degree of irritation.


“Did you check up above before you started cutting?”

He pointed to a spot above the desk, “Look, I’ve been doing this a long time. The leak is down here.”

“Allright. Sorry to bother you.” I retreated back into the office and listed to the sound of the saw cutting.

After a few minutes, the plumber came and got me. “Found the leak.”

I followed him back into the main room and saw that he had cut three holes in the wall. One at the floor, one at desk level, and one just below the faux-ceiling.

“Where was it?” I asked.

He looked a little sheepish. “Up above the ceiling.”

“I told you…”

“I knew you were gonna say that,” he grinned.

I gave him a death stare and said, “Just fix it.”

I turned and went back into my office and shut the door. I was angry. I was seething. I wanted to give that guy a piece of my mind. Now, I not only had to accommodate the plumbing repairs, but now, right around Christmas time, I was going to have to have drywall repaired and textured, the whole wall repainted, and the huge mess cleaned up.

All of it could have been avoided had he just listened to me.

As I was working, my irritation grew: I kept telling myself that stuff like this happens. People are stupid. It is just a crappy inconvenience. Deal with it!

But I was still angry. I was deciding what I was going to say to this guy – and his boss. (Sadly, I have a frighteningly sharp tongue when I want it, and my skill with words sometimes can be used in less than noble ways.)

Then I started wondering and worrying why my anger was disproportionate to the situation. It really wasn’t THAT big of a deal. I knew in my heart that I should not be so angry, but I was losing the battle – and it started to concern me. I didn’t want to feel like that – especially not at Christmastime.

The plumber left to get help, I sent my employees home, called my EC to cancel our Friday night date plans, and got back to work.

Yet I couldn’t shake the rage. It was uncharacteristic of me. Perhaps it was the deadlines, or the stress of the season, or feeling disrespected – I don’t know – but I was ready to read this guy the riot act when he got back.

Instead, that sweet, little voice kept nudging me and telling me that I needed to dial it down. I ignored it at first, but then took it to heart. Now that I was alone, I had a quiet moment and said a quick prayer, asking the Lord to help me lose the anger. (And hence the sin of hanging onto it.)

After I prayed, the thought came to me to put on some Christmas music. I clicked through Spotify and picked Amy Grant’s “Home for Christmas.”

By the time the touching “Breath of Heaven” played. My heart was back to a softened, pliable state. The rage was gone. When the plumber got back I let him get to work, and fix the leak, while I focused on my own deadlines.

After he was done we did have a gentle conversation that all of the resulting work and mess were avoidable. He relented and apologized.

I wished them a merry Christmas and sent them on their way. I got home at about 8:00pm, feeling much better about things, and life in general.

The power of prayer, and the power of music can both combine to sooth the fury of an angry soul. Even an imperfect man like me can find solace through the spiritual healing of such simple, and readily available things.

The tiniest of tiny Christmas miracles, but I’ll take it.

Merry Christmas!


About the author


  1. Thank you for your thoughts and perspective, Myself, I get frustrated with my son whenever we have to do homework, he tends to not do it the way I would do it (shocker). We are getting into the habit of praying before homework so I can relax and he can work straight through until he is done.

    A small miracle, is still a miracle =)

  2. Music is part of God’s toolkit. Need to cry? Need to pick up the pace? Need to repent? Parenthetically, my firstborn is singing “Breath of Heaven” in her ward next week.

  3. I keep thinking: I wonder how often God wants to say, “If you’d just done what I’d asked the first time, you could have avoided so much pain and mess.” 🙂

  4. Oh man! What a pain but what a good way to end on a good note. Maybe the plumber will come to help with refinishing the wall?!

    I don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but what you just described happening to your leak and wall is pretty much how it was for us, every single week for 14 months, when we built our own home.

    Ain’t doin’ that again!

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)