Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Lessons

#1 - You can do anything you put your mind to as long as you have a good supply of junk plywood, baler twine and hay pallets. How do I know this? We have pigs. 'nuff said.

#2 - Even more than I need to learn to communicate with people better, I need to continue to listen to people.

I've been struggling with milk customers not letting me know when they will not be picking up milk. Out of my customer base of 15 families or so, this only happens about once or twice a week, but it can be irritating. I try to remind them gently about the need to communicate if this happens more than once, but inside I'm usually quietly fuming at being taken advantage of.

This week has been a crazy fiasco of trying to coordinate butchering dates for our bull and three hogs. I called Buckley's to ask if they had an earlier date to butcher our hogs, since they will be ready within three weeks, and I had signed them up for two months down the road. Buckleys said their entire schedule was full, and just to let them know if we wanted to stay with the current butchering date.

Then the bull got out with the cows... bad, bad, bad situation. Our electric fence is still not working correctly, and no one can figure out why. I called Riteway to see if they had room in their schedule to butcher the bull this weekend, so at least we don't have to deal with one dangerous animal. They put him on the schedule yesterday, and this morning I got a call from Buckleys. He told me that he can't handle hogs as big as ours are going to be by October 15th, and yet he can't get me in earlier. I mentioned,"that's okay, I'll call Riteway and see if they can get them done earlier, since they are doing our bull this weekend." The guy at Buckley's said, "oh, you mean you got someone else to do the bull without telling us so we could get someone else in that time slot?" After a few more words of disappointment, I finally got the word in edgewise that I had planned to call them with this brand new information today. He seemed a bit satiated, and told me to call him back after I'd found out about the hogs.

I get the hogs on Riteway's schedule, call Buckley's back, and get his wife on the phone. She rants about loosing four customers because I wouldn't call them about changing to a different butcher (how this is possible, considering I only took up one time slot, had just yesterday found out about being able to get the bull done this weekend, and it was Buckley's who were unable to butcher the hogs even though I was okay with waiting, is something to ponder). Eventually, realizing she was not interested in hearing an explanation, and was just angry about my mistake costing them business, I quit trying to get a word in edgewise.

There was a moment of dead air, then a "hello? hello, are you there?".

To honestly answer, when someone is not listening, the person they are talking to could just as well be not present. I just felt like crying afterwards at the trouble I had inadvertently caused. Not a good way to start off the day.

Lord, help me to listen to others and get over my huffiness over people's mistakes. A little bit of grace goes a long way, and I for sure appreciate it when people rebuke me softly, instead of with a harsh diatribe.

"A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart." Proverbs 18:2

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

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