Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Amazing Unprecedented Plumber

Moving into our new home, we discovered that many aspects of it had been neglected during the previous owners' eight-year residence. One area was the bathroom sinks and toilets. As one of our final upgrades, we called the plumber to clear the sink drains and replace old hardware in the toilets. I assisted by getting rid of the gunk that had accumulated on the stoppers and in the drain pipes. It was...never mind...too nasty to describe.

The plumber was an interesting fellow in his mid-thirties. Even though he spoke with a speech impediment, he talked nonstop during the hour he was in the house. He told me that when he was 15, he accidentally received a powerful electric shock that almost killed him. As a result, he has been bipolar ever since. He was even institutionalized for a while, in which he struggled to survive the treatment of the staff and other residents.

But he also developed an uncanny ability to solve visual-spatial problems. He found that he could disassemble and reassemble anything - furniture, appliances, even a car. "To me, they're like puzzles," he said with a smile. I observed his abilities first-hand as he quickly did what I discovered earlier I could not do.

He told me that his employers and colleagues were perplexed and intimidated by the paradox of his superior abilities and the outward impression of mental inadequacy. He didn't respond well to the resulting unfairness and mistreatment, which made it hard for him to cultivate good working relationships.

My impression of him was that despite any mental disabilities he may have, he is more intelligent than many of the people I encounter every day.

And at the end of the hour, our plumbing was in like-new condition.

The time I spent with this outgoing mechanical prodigy caused me to remember an important fact: Each of the billions of human beings that have lived on Earth is unique. Each path, each journey is unprecedented. Each human brain is wired differently.

And an important principle: to create authentic relationships, we need to exercise tolerance, patience, and compassion.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2014. Building Personal Strength .

No comments: