Expect the basement


Sooner or later you always get to the basement, in every relationship, family, workplace, organization, neighborhood, church.

The basement is not where the bodies are. It’s not where the bad stuff is.

The basement is where you see the stuff you don’t like

It’s where the sausage is made. It’s the tangled underside of the quilt you love.

It’s the first argument where you realize that new special person doesn’t really play fair. And they think the same of you.

It’s underwear on the floor and the toilet seat up, but to them it’s you griping about normal stuff like underwear on the floor and toilet seats up. All multiplied times a thousand.

It’s HR polices, decisions that seem silly, lack of appreciation, misunderstandings, quirky bosses, and ‘personalities.’

It’s the pastor’s long stories, the style of music, the ministries they emphasize, the ministries they don’t emphasize, offenses all around, and ‘it shouldn’t be this way, this is church.’

The basement is different for everybody

The things you find in the basement are not the same things others find. Some see you in the basement. And you see them.

I think in any new thing, you can expect to see the basement within a year or two. Maybe three. The more involved you are, the sooner you find it. The longer you’re there, the more you see.

At first everything is wonderful. Upstairs is bright and welcoming. The lights are on, the floors are swept, the dishes clean. This doesn’t mean it’s phony or fake; it’s just the way it is.

When you see the basement at the beginning, you leave, right? It’s the reason you don’t marry that person or take that job or go to that church. The lights aren’t bright to you.

So what do you do when you finally find the basement later?

That, of course is up to you.

What is not up to you is whether or not the next person or place has a basement. They do, guaranteed.

Expect the basement

Expect that the nature of the basement is that you disagree with what’s there and don’t like it.

And expect the temptation to fool yourself that the next basement will for sure be better than this one.

About the Author


Gary Morland helps you feel better about your most challenging family relationships, and helps you actually improve those relationships - all by adopting simple attitudes, perspectives, expectations, and actions (the same ones that changed him and his family).


  1. Laurie

    Wow!!! This is profound. I love it.

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