I am currently representing my parents on a dispute with a neighbor who has filed against us on leakage from our unit to his. When I started out taking care of the case, I saw this as an opportunity to take care of the case for them and easing their burdens on this. After all, in the words of the other party’s lawyer, this is “a storm in a teacup” so it shouldn’t be too challenging while being useful experience in the event that I have such an issue myself in the future.
Now, after countless hours of meditation, thinking about what to say, attending a direction hearing and drafting a submission, I don’t want to play this game anymore. Coming to my senses I realize more and more how significant the costs that both parties have spent are. He has probably spent more in terms of dollars engaging lawyers and a building surveyor while we have spent more time having opted to take care of the case (so far) by ourselves. At the rate we’re going, the total costs spent on the case will possibly very soon exceed that of the actual leakage. Sadly the leakage appears to me to be a reason for unleashing pent up bitterness, whether it was caused by prior “noise disturbance” from our unit or otherwise.
There is no glory in winning over a storm in a teacup. What are the potential benefits of putting all this time in? In gambling (not that I advocate it) the potential of winnings is proportionate to the risk level and amount put in, in a way a roughly fair game (e.g. for roulette with the exception of number 0 and 00). In destructive habits e.g. smoking, the nett outcome is a generally known as a loss. If this case is purely about the stated matter of water leakage, then it looks like any potential benefit from the leakage being fixed has been erased by the cost put into fighting. If this case is not purely about the stated matter, then I’m afraid that the losses will be much greater, for then it would be a fight of emotions, of words, of egos. Why not invest our efforts in endeavors that bring probable or guaranteed returns instead? Something as simple as simple as taking a walk along the beach with a loved one?
Stephen M.R. Covey details in his book The Speed of Trust so concisely about how high trust increases speed and decreases costs, while low trust decreases speed and increases costs. How apt his theory is to this case.
The goal of terrorism is not in the crashing of planes, the taking of lives or even extortion of billions of dollars, but it is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims” (New Oxford American Dictionary). The losses for the USA have been large—increased cost of flying, more time spent from check-in to boarding the plane. Low trust. Terror and intimidation. Taking disproportionate precautions to statistical risk because of “what if” statements. Isn’t that a perfect game plan, when all it takes is a few plane crashes to cause the world’s largest country to spend billions of dollars on precautionary measures. And who thought that after putting in all these security measures, the next target was trains and not planes?
WWJD? At what cost do we seek peace? Definitely not at all costs, but I think one should be doubly certain when choosing the path of conflict.
The mediation hearing is scheduled for this Thursday (direction hearing -> mediation hearing -> court case). Holy Spirit please come with me into the mediation room. I don’t want to go there by myself. I don’t want to go into a storm of words and emotions. Give me the words to say; not words of death but words of life. I pray for the other party that you will bring your peace into his home right this moment. Come and meet his deepest of needs. Let your light shine through the matters at hand for all around to see. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.