Friday, April 8, 2011

April Showers or TeamWork

I went to a meeting at my new place of business last night.  We were having our first real thunderstorm of the season, complete with lightning and thunder.  My dog had very carefully hidden herself under the bed so I knew it must be a real storm, not one of those little things that floats over and leaves a little water.  It had been raining since about noon; nothing very heavy, just a nice, gentle rain, until suppertime when the thunder started.  Before very long, the lightning came as well. 

I ate a nice meal, earlier than I usually eat, so that I could get to my meeting, did the dishes all while listening to the sounds of spring outside my window.  When it was time to go, I made a mad dash to my car through the now heavier rain and drove the short distance to the building in which we would have my meeting.  I was all geared up, ready to go.  The board chairperson greeted me at the door with a rather distressed look on her face and asked if anyone else was with me.  When I told her no, that I was alone, she became more distressed.  She said, "There's water everywhere."

We are in a building that is finishing up a construction project.  They have added some new space to an existing building and have added an elevator.  It's been a year-long project which is in the final inspection stage now.  I had been told that there was a leak around a skylight and that it was small so when I joined her on the stairs I expected her to show me this small leak.  I was totally unprepared for the massive amount of water that filled three rooms, a hallway and was spreading into another room and down the stairs!

We stood in a couple of inches of water in one of the rooms.  All of the classroom equipment and supplies were stacked in the middle of the room in preparation for a sorting and cleaning project next weekend.  Chairs, tables, televisions, stereos, bulletin boards, construction paper, markers, cds, EVERYTHING was getting rained on....INSIDE!

Immediately, we started moving things from the north end of the room to the drier south end but we couldn't keep up with the inundation of water.  We decided to stop for a moment and call in reinforcements.  She got on the phone and I started looking through the rest of the building.  We each found more places that water was beginning to leak through the ceilings, but we also found more help.  Some grabbed mops, some grabbed towels and blankets, some grabbed brooms to push the water away from pianos and furniture. One wet home to get their shop vac.  A couple of men climbed up on the roof and attempted to find the cause of the problem and while there pushed more water off the roof.  Around twenty of us were bailing water just as quickly as we could, but as long as the rain continued we didn't make much progress...until all of us focused on one room, one area, one ceiling.

When we began to target the one room, all of us working to clear the room, drag down the wet ceiling tiles, mop up the water, find barrels to collect the new water, and stop the flow out of the room into the other rooms, then we began to make some progress.  When we got one room done, we moved to the next and within a short period of time (it didn't seem so short then) we hadn't necessarily stopped the water from coming in but we'd cleared the area, the water coming in had lessened as the rain slowed outside, and we had placed all manor of buckets, barrels, and trash cans to catch what was still coming in.

It was amazing what we accomplished when we stopped for a moment, created a plan of action, and then everyone worked TOGETHER to make it happen.  We had made some minor progress before; some things had been moved to safe locations, some water had been stopped, but only minor changes were taking place as each of us tried to make the situation better. TOGETHER we made a real difference.

After I got dried out at home and was drinking my cup of tea, I marveled at how like our every day life that little example had been.  We all scurry around trying to get things done and make it all work for good, but when we take the time to work with others, make a plan and then move forward, it all falls into place and everything works much easier.

The other amazing thing that happened through all of that:  I made a lot of new friends while we were splashing through the water together!  It's hard to do that kind of work and not make friends in the process.  At one point I turned around and there was a gentleman with an umbrella I did not know standing in the pouring rain, inside the building.  I just had to stand there and laugh, for at that point, crying was not an option (it may be today when I go back in there).  I went back to work and the next thing I knew he had put down his umbrella, grabbed a towel and was soaking up water just as quickly as he could, wringing out the towel, and soaking up more all on his hands and knees.  God Bless Him!!!

I just love these examples of relationships and teamwork that are placed before us!  What wonderful reminders that we are not alone in this life.  Thank You, Friends--Old and New!

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