Swimming Upstream means sometimes doing jobs that most people would hire someone else to do. These jobs can be messy, labor intensive, boring, monotonous, or require learning and trial and error.
I was fortunate enough to have a great example of a do-it-yourselfer in my grandfather. He was a lifetime airplace mechanic. When I was younger I was always fascinated as he told me how helicopters worked, airplanes flew, and stories of rescuing wrecked planes or pilots he would meet from South America. As I grew I noticed how he rarely hired others to repair his house or when things went wrong at the Airplane Hanger (<“Financial Salmon”> Aero Service, as I will refer to it) he would fix it himself or work hand in hand with lower level employees (as he was the owner). In my young teenage years he helped me build science projects that blew other kids away with the metal and woodworking skills he had.
My Pepaw was a wealthy man. Moneywise? I don’t know. He didn’t ever flash his networth, lived in the same old house for 50+ years, loved his job, drove modest cars, didn’t go on fancy vacations, etc. So how do I know he was a wealthy man, because he looked at wealth differently than the Financial Masses. Pepaw was a man of faith and I saw his wealth at a young age. It was a wealth of faith, family and hard work. He enjoyed the simple things and the challenge to do it himself. I like to believe I absorbed these traits or at least acclimate them into my life to swim upstream.
Now, though I have become a bit of a do-it-yourselfer myself I realize my job and family take priority over the pride of doing everything myself. Or at least my wife reminds me of this. As I began trying to clean up our yard at our new house which consisted of cutting down handfuls of dying tress and years of busted old brick work I came to the realization I would need help. Unfortunately I have abused the help of my friends to often and thus must hire someone once in a while.
I am usually very particular in who I hire. No big contractors or large overhead companies. I want to hire someone who needs the work. Enter Emmanuel.
My wife called me at work the day after I had cut down a couple of trees and the piles were building up in the front yard. She said a pleasant man had come to see if could use his work to cut down our trees.Well this was a Godsend as she had called a couple of people the week before off craigslist who never showed up (how do these people get referral business?) This put me into a tailspin to try to serve her by doing the work myself. It was tough as there was only a couple hours of light after work to get anything finished. Prep and clean up time barely gave me anytime to accomplish my task. So I decided this was one job I was ok hiring out (we are still swimming upstream. We haven’t arrived).
Emmanuel completed the job before I got home with the help of his worker friend Sergio. I did not get to meet them. My wife guaranteed that they were worthy of us hiring them and very genuinely nice people. As always I was a bit skeptical as we paid more than I would have liked, but also was pleased with the speed and performance of the job.
Today Emmanuel came back to help tear out some stumps and old brick that needed removing. This time I was there to meet him. Wow! Emmanuel was the real deal “brother”! Emmanuel was a genuine happy, life-filled, joyous brother (he called me “brother”). I was fortunate to work alongside him and his crew and they busted their butts to get the work done. This is one of my favorite things. Emmanuel was 55 and in better shape than at my peak. I must admit I was envious of his postive outlook. His first question upon meeting me, in broken English “You a Christian brother?” I responded Yes. he replied “A REAL Christian?” and proceeded to pretend as he was pulling a gun to shoot me.
It may sound weird but he got it. He knew life here was temporary, but a vapor passing through the wind and because of it he was full of joy, life and passion for people. It is infectious, convicting and encouraging. I had know problem paying him and his men more than a fair wage for their work. I had more fun working alongside them as they put up with my learning and weak muscles.
I had a blast doing a job most people wouldn’t, alongside “Brothers” that most people wouldn’t associate with. Emmanuel and his crew had great stories and sparked and invigorated me. I like to think they are swimming against the financial masses with me. Not only that but I learned some great new tricks and tips for the remainder of my future landscaping endeavors.
Don’t be afraid to swim upstream and spend some time with an “Emmanuel” out there. Financial Wisdom can sometimes be learned by spending a little time with someone like Emmanuel.
I am praying for you brother! God with us.