The day started out normal enough. Just loading huge boulders into the backhoe bucket and dumping them into a septic hole, next to the tank. That one filled up quickly! Nearby was another septic tank that needed the dirt cleaned out around it to make the hole larger so we could put rocks in there, too. Might as well dig that one out next! I had a couple assistants (Tanzi and Laura) who were standing on the tank, helping me dig the hole. (I have driven the backhoe quite a bit at home, but not much in the way of deep holes).... Got a lot cleaned out, but then realized it was a bit after 5. Ok, I guess it’s time to go and make supper. Just a little more....
A minute later, it literally felt like in a blink of an eye, the arm on the backhoe somehow jerked forward and hit the tank hard! The bricks were tumbling, and the looks on the girls’ faces were priceless! Laura jumped off immediately, Tanzi, with wide eyes, looked around, then ran and jumped off, too! My hand went up to my mouth as my face turned about 10 shades redder! “Noooo! I didn’t really just break the septic tank, did I? Ahhhhh! Yeah, I sure did!” I started laughing from nervousness as the guys all started realizing and coming over to look! The smell..... Good for me (and the guys who fixed it), it wasn’t full,... But it still was stinky! “Good job, Phoebe!” Ok, yeah, I know, I know. You don’t have to tell me!
Many thoughts were racing through my mind! “How could I have been so stupid! I should have stopped working just a few minutes earlier (when my conscience told me not to do the last load)! Can we fix it? The poor guys will probably have to fix it. Man, it’ll take lots of extra money. What is everyone going to say? Gross!” The more I thought about it, the worse I felt, until there was some water mixed with my red-faced smiles and laughter. Although the guys laughed with me and told me what a “good job” I did, they didn’t get mad or hateful. Amid laughter, Ray said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be made stronger this time.” We all had to laugh about that one.
Ray and Edwin decided to start fixing it that very night. It’s getting darker now, the mosquitoes are coming out in forces, but I’m not leaving until the guys leave. I’ve gotta help clean up my mess! So, a small group of us helped mix up some cement, poured it in the blocks to strengthen the wall, then went and ate supper. I still felt pretty terrible, but I started realizing how blessed I am with the team here in Belize. Not only the guys didn’t get mad, but the girls still loved me despite my stinky mistake.
Have you ever said, “Wow, I just messed up!” “How could I have been so stupid!” “Oops, I hurt that person.” “Can I ever get this mess fixed?” “Ewww, this situation sure stinks!” “I don’t think life will ever be the same again!” You know, I think that God looks down on our mistakes, our problems, and says, “Don’t worry, you will be made stronger after this.” You will learn your lesson. You will be a better person. When we make stupid mistakes, when we mess up our lives and think “It stinks to be stupid”, God smiles at us, wipes away our tears, and helps us to fix our stinky messes and be stronger people because of it.