Cave In!

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I experienced a great adventure with Eric, Taylor, Kristian and Willow (OK, so Willow was kept outside but was enthusiastically supportive). We were invited to explore a house tagged to be demolished. Over the years, what should have been life giving water actually ate away the wood and supporting structure. A falling tree brought an end to the house trying to survive. With the crash to the roof, the main floor fell straight into the basement, floor joists and all. The surrounding walls were left dangling like lifeless tightrope walkers clinging to a safety wire.

“Come cross the plank,” was the invitation from my adventurous son-in-law. He had crossed fearlessly and scampered up the decaying spiral staircase on the other side. How could I resist?!? The sinking dining room buffet with door popped open seemed to wave and invite me over!

I looked into the deep cavern, deeper than just one story. I gazed at all the “stuff” that had been someone’s treasure a few short years ago dirty, broken and mangled. Picture frames, cups, furniture, lumped together as a soggy mass. I don’t think I have a fear of heights but I knew it wouldn’t be wise to look down while crossing over the 12 inch plank.

Watching Kristian smiling from ear to ear while examining the debris was too enticing to resist. Over the plank I went!

The structure of the house was a little more solid on the other side. The floor was warped but only the right third had caved in. An antique secretary jutted out from the middle of the fallen section. A full set of coloring markers were hanging over the edge of a shelf from another skewed cabinet.

I followed Kristian the explorer up the dilapidated winding staircase, taking heed to his instructions,”Stay close to the center of the spiral. The wood is more solid there.” Up I shimmied, standing at the height of the cathedral ceiling, and looked over the catastrophe laying in shambles below.

Turning I saw a long upper room with a slanted ceiling barely tall enough for Kristian to stand. The wall paper was dripping from the walls and mold was invading every nook and cranny the eyes could behold. Dated wall sconces helplessly clung to the exposed wire. Toys and clothes lay in soggy heaps from one end of the room to the other as glimmers of light peeked through the holes in the roof. Any treasure to be found was lost under muck and debris. Down the stairs I descended.

Taking in the cavern in front of me I questioned my insightful son,”How does this happen?” I was grieved with the thought of standing amidst the rubble of someone’s dream.

“It was just a little leak, that no one fixed. After a while the wood got wet, rotted away and no one noticed because it was gradual. The tree that fell was kind of a lucky last straw.”

Just a leak…

We left and the five of us went for food, so a bathroom first then food, as we worked up quite the appetite. Later I pondered the shell we encountered: the house that was once a dream, then a reality, finally a home. The destruction came because of an overlooked, or maybe ignored, leak. I now sit in my room scanning for what I have left unattended, but it goes deeper than that.

How many times in my everyday walk do I let little things, annoyances, bit me and I push them aside as “unimportant.” The nipping turns to eating away and then I get grumpy, crass, sarcastic, short, unkind, and dishonoring? Suddenly I take on this “victim” mentality as I point out all the nasty or unthoughtful things people are “doing” to me. In all honesty, I’m being overly sensitive because I have a hurt that I never took care of.

My mind goes back to Taylor’s fifth grade. She was a peer mediator, meaning she helped kids resolve conflict. They were taught not to point fingers at each other but to say, “I feel…”.

As an adult I’ve also learned that people aren’t mind readers, even if I want them to be. On top of me telling them how I feel, I need to let them know what I need. If it’s someone I truly care about, and they care about me, they are going to want to meet my needs. In the same way, I hope they can come to me if I have offended them. I hope they know that it is safe to tell me when I hurt them and trust that I will do whatever I can to make it right.

In the same respect, I also need to realize that no one owes me anything. When I do share how I feel, or what I need, that doesn’t negate anyone to do anything about it. I have to be willing and able to forgive without an apology and move on to serve my Father with a pure heart.

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

This verse reminded me was that it’s a discipline to not react, tuck away or deny when I’ve been punched or hurt. My world didn’t cave-in all at once, it started with a single happen-stance. A tiny leak can lead to either the destruction of myself or to a relationship I hold dear. With the discipline of facing it when it happens, though painful at the time, will lead to peace. If my goal in life is to look a little more like Jesus every day, then I guess the reflection of righteousness would be spot on point.

Practice makes perfect…oh, boy. I’m going to have to pray my way through that one.

Until next time: blessings!

One thought on “Cave In!

  1. food for a lot of thought and introspection, self evaluation and motive driven choices and decisions. Thanks for sharing your experience. BUT! AND!! WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS!???

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