Some of you are going to think I’m just an idiot. If you already thought that, well, this is just confirmation.
I had a couple of ceiling fans installed in my house three years ago. The guy who installed them is a local contractor, a neighbor, and a friend. He knows more than me and has experience in these things. The problem was that only one of the fans worked properly.
In one room the fan was superb.
I could sit in a chair on a hot day and have the fan push air down at any speed I wanted. It even had a remote control so I could adjust it without having to stand up.
The other one was in my bedroom, and it only appeared to work properly. It spun just fine, and with the remote I could adjust the speed from a prone position. It just didn’t cool anything. I would lay in my bed, look at the meaningless motion of those blades, think to myself, “I should get that fixed…” then fall asleep. I wouldn’t think of it again until the next warm night when I needed it to work and it didn’t.
It was my own personal Groundhog Day movie.
Did I mention that this went on for three years?
That was until recently.
I was lying in bed doing some serious pondering about why it didn’t work right. Duh! Of course, the angle of the blades was opposite of what it should be to push any air down. I tested my theory by getting out of bed and looking at the other fan.
Sure enough, the way the good fan was working had the blades turned so that air headed downward.
The way the bad fan was working had the blades turned so that the air headed upward. In other words, it had been cooling my bedroom ceiling all this time.
I tried turning the blades so that they would be angled properly, but they were anchored into the hub. Which left me with the obvious conclusion: The fan was defective! What a relief! I figured it out! I had bought a bad fan!
So I called the contractor.
I asked him to remove the fan so I could take it back to the store.
“Are you looking at the fan now?” he asked.
“Yup,” I said, bouncing on my feet with anticipation.
“See if there is a small switch on the main part of the fan.”
“I see it.”
“Just move it from one side to the other.”
“Now turn it on.”
O. M. Gosh.
It worked perfectly.
The fan spun in the opposite direction from before. The room became instantly cooler.
Maybe I would have eventually figured this out. But it had already been three years. In my self-diagnosis, I was ready to tear it apart and send it to the junk heap. What it took was a call to a friend who saw things a little differently. Someone who could ask just a few well-placed questions, without judgment or condemnation.
It isn’t just with ceiling fans where I need some help. Left on my own, I can come up with all sorts of plausible theories of why things aren’t working right. Sometimes I need someone who can gently say, “Do you see this? Maybe try it a different way.”
Who’s that person in your life? What’s going on in your life that you might need them to speak into today?