Normally, I stay away from New Year’s resolutions, but this past year has revealed a flaw in me that is so deep that I have no choice but to face it and resolve to fix it.
I am going to set my mind on not inserting myself into other people’s business.
Like most people who do this, I come from a place of kindness and well-meaning but, after six or seven situations that backfired, it’s time to take action.
It’s time to let God be in charge. It’s time to add a bit of cynicism to my way of thinking.
It started at the first of the year. We had decided to plant some mature trees on the Rondarosa because we have lost over three dozen, in the past five years, to storms. A landscaper came to us by recommendation from an expert who is the friend of one of the most trustworthy people I have ever known. In fact, he is renowned across the Southeast for his integrity and standing behind his word.
Five times, the landscaper postponed us or didn’t show up. Tink said in a rare moment of distrust, “I don’t know about this guy. If we can’t get him to show up and look at the job, that doesn’t bode well for him showing up to do the job.”
Tink is the most trusting and patient person, which makes him excellent in his job as a television showrunner. It takes a lot for him to see bad in anyone. Yet, unusually, he was warning me before he met this landscaper.
I shrugged Tink off and said, “This recommendation came, in a roundabout way, from one of the most honorable men I have ever known. It didn’t come directly from him but it came from someone he trusts.”
We were trying to get the trees bought and put in the ground where winter’s rain was still plenty so they’d be well grounded when summer’s heat and drought came.
“You’re going to have a hard time keeping those trees alive in July and August,” warned a friend with a horticultural degree.
Finally, in early March, the landscaper, who put us off for three months, showed up. He was amicable and humble. Almost immediately, he started talking about his studying of the Bible and he asked us to pray for him.
That’s when I should have run.
I learned years ago, when I built a house, that any contractor who shows up, telling you straight off about his Christian values, should be fired immediately. Normally, the ones who followed the teachings of the Bible, show you. They don’t tell you.
Tink left for a few months, off on-location, shooting, and I was left with the problems and this guy turned out to be one of the biggest problems I’ve ever endured.
I thought I could help him change, help him to see the light and correct the error of his ways. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. I called him up and had a good talking-to about his lying ways. He agreed and apologized. He promised to be better, the kind of man God wanted him to be.
Then, he showed up, and he sweetly conned me again. In the end, though bruised and bloodied, I prevailed. I realized how blessed I’d been after it occurred to me to check for online reviews of his work.
Each one-star review told the same story almost verbatim: “He charms, takes money, and never returns.”
He was one of six people who taught me lessons this past year about jumping into people’s business and trying to help them. I feel like I have earned a Medal of Valor on the battlefield of life.
Lastly, Tink was right. I admit that now for all to know.
In 2021, everyone can fix themselves and their own problems. I have retired. Resolutely.
[Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of “Let Me Tell You Something.” Visit www.rondarich.com to sign up for her free weekly newsletter.]