Written by : Christine Detrick

Building on Friendship

Extensive home repairs become a heartwarming and welcome Happy Act.

House made of chalk with red heart in on blue wooden background. Sun in a corner

Extensive home repairs become a heartwarming and welcome Happy Act.

Over the last two years, I spent a lot of time helping my colleague Sandy Lewis launch her business. I live in Washington state and traveled to her community in Texas to help. Through many texts and phone calls, I provided advice and served as a mentor. She told me she would never have achieved the success she did without my help. She is always grateful and appreciative.

It should be no surprise that we have become close friends, almost like sisters. I value how our relationship has matured, that we can be honest with each other with no concern about feeling weak or wrong. 

Knowing that I am always just a phone call away, she forges ahead and has achieved notable success while growing through the inevitable ups and downs. All this time, her husband, John, had been quietly observing all the positive changes and growth in his wife, knowing that it was through our relationship that she was becoming a strong businesswoman.

While I was visiting Texas last year, John told me he was so appreciative of my efforts to help his wife that he wanted to reciprocate. Despite my concerns about the distance, and time and money investments it would take for him to visit me in Washington, he continued to insist.

Knowing that my home desperately needed numerous repair and improvement jobs, John asked me to make a list. Although retired from his career in sales, he is an accomplished carpenter and “fix-it” handyman who thoroughly enjoys this hobby.

So, despite my concerns, John packed up his four-door Honda sedan with every hand and power tool imaginable, plus a ladder, table saw, chain saw, nails, etc. He then drove 2,200 miles in three days from Kerrville, Texas, to Lacey, Washington. 

He set to work immediately, rebuilding a fence and new gate. As if that was not enough, he tore out a rotten porch, built a replacement, installed new siding on the house, cut down trees and installed a new screen door and a smoke detector. Here for two weeks, he also fixed my broken toilet, got the automatic garage door to work and repaired a portion of my roof, among other things. 

He made numerous trips to local lumberyards and home improvement stores. (My responsibility was to supply the investment for all materials). Getting an early start each day, he was like the Tasmanian devil of solving problems and making a difference.

Two weeks later to the day, we packed up his car for the return trip, and he drove back to Texas. Who does this?!

You can only imagine my delight as I watched the transformation of my home. It was one of the most memorable and heartfelt experiences of my life. My neighbors were astounded, having never imagined such a selfless act of giving that John demonstrated.

It has taken me many years to develop an “ask for help” attitude. What I have learned is that most people want to help—some even are desperate to help—and that they have talents and experiences that are hugely valuable. Accepting help can feel daunting or even threatening, but most of the time it is the best path to success. It also fosters relationships that mature over time. And it lends both parties an opportunity to reciprocate—which can lead, as in this case, to a most generous and unexpected surprise.

This article originally appear in the December 2015 issue of Live Happy magazine.
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