Why can I be calm and cool when calming someone else down and not when dealing with a crisis on my own?
I know, long title… …but how else can one do it?
One day, my daughter Erin was very upset when she discovered what to her was a major crisis. She discovered that our basement had flooded from an overflowing sink!
When I heard her hollering, I was immediately anything but calm and cool, as my old heart started racing and I ran downstairs with all kinds of horrible thoughts in my head. Was she injured? Was someone else hurt? Were we robbed? Every terrible thing you can think of went through my mind. One thing I was sure of though, is that I would be dealing with a crisis.
I arrived downstairs to discover almost the entire cellar had about 1/2″ to 1″ of water. Boxes of ‘stuff’, furniture, laundry machines, cat and dog food, and hockey bags were laying in water – the soaked-in water level on each item visibly rising as we contemplated the task that lay ahead of us.
I knew I had to calm Erin right away, so I said, “Here’s what we do. This happened to me the first week we moved in here when my old washing machine gave up, and I was down here by myself (Mark was away for business) at 3 am mopping up a similar mess. We grab all articles of clothing, towels, sheets, and comforters in the laundry hamper and lay them out on the floor to mop up the water. We empty the washer so we can throw items in as they get too wet and wash them out. We then lay out more if there’s still water. When the washer is done, we transfer to the dryer to dry and load the washer with more of the soaked articles from the floor and so on…”
Lucky for us we were behind in doing the laundry and there was lots in the hamper to use. Nothing was seriously damaged and we were able to clean up. Then it was just a matter of doing the final laundry loads and drying all surfaces.
If it had been just me dealing with a crisis, I know I would have been just as upset, but there’s something about trying to calm someone else down that forces us to remain calmer than we normally would be. Somehow, I must try and harness the same calming effect when it’s just me in the future.