Needed Repairs and Maintenance
I drove by a place I have passed almost daily for many years now, but which I have often failed to pay attention to. But this morning as I drove by, it caught my eye, and some simple yet profound thoughts came to me, so I stopped to take some pictures and share them for what they are worth.
Some beautiful apartments were under construction during the building boom of 2008, when while only partially completed, the bottom fell out of the financial world and resources apparently came to a crashing end, leaving this once potentially attractive and financially productive venture incomplete. Unable to sustain the project through to completion, the structures have now sat incomplete for the past nine years, with nothing but the wearing forces of weather, migrating birds, and scavenging varmints paying them much attention. What has happened is rather sad to behold.
The once sturdy frames and walls now provide only sagging support.
The once dreamed of furnished interiors sit hollow and filled with debris.
The views which once may have looked upon manicured lawns and flower beds now behold wanting scenes of overgrown weeds which choke the grounds of color and vitality.
As sad as the apparent loss of financial investment and property values, what struck me was how these grounds mirror the souls of many individuals who walk among us and with whom we rub shoulders with in our daily lives. They may be hollow, incomplete and suffering in silence.
Often, as I do driving by these buildings each day, we hardly tend to cast a glance in their direction or notice their needs. Instead we often look away to avoid what may otherwise be uncomfortable encounters outside of our structured lives and activities.
What also dawns upon me is the realization that each and every one of us likely have places in our souls which we have neglected or ignored and which, without the needed attention, have fallen into disrepair and states of decay. We may want to ignore those darker recesses within ourselves, or in society around us, but the simple fact is this – Unless we put effort into regular maintenance and repair, all things decay and degrade as a natural result.
We cannot ignore the problems and degrading forces at work in our own lives or in society around us and expect them to somehow get better on their own. The forces of nature, both physically and spiritually don’t work that way. Things uncared for will ALWAYS progress from a state of organization into a state of chaos and decline.
You can have a beautifully painted house, but if the interior walls are infested with mice and it doesn’t have functional plumbing or electricity, then it is pretty hard to live in with any measure of comfort or safety. Instead, we must perform regular cleaning, maintenance, replace worn out parts with things that are newer and better. We must dig out the weeds and plant flowers in their place, apply new paint where needed, vacuum and sweep out unwanted accumulations. In essence, we must pay attention to things. Especially those things of most importance.
We often tend to ignore or neglect the “weightier matters” in our lives or the deeper spiritual areas of decay we suffer from. Perhaps addressing those areas of need pulls us too far out of our comfort zone and will require significant effort to repair and upgrade and we just don’t feel we have the spiritual energy or resources to do it after the daily battles we fight.
The first reality of the situation is, that in order to improve and progress, we must focus the needed energy and resources into those areas of decay to bring them into repair. The other reality is, is that it is very difficult to help fill others needs if we are hollow and lacking in our own interior design. The good news is we don’t have to do it alone, and it is totally worth the effort and investment!
If we are willing to call upon other experts with the knowledge and skills to help us make those repairs properly, or at least teach us how to make those adjustments and repairs more efficiently, then the process can be much easier. Family, friends, spiritual advisors and leaders can all help provide needed encouragement and suggestions to begin to overhaul, de-junk and commence the renovations we need.
And if we really want to get serious about making complete interior and exterior designs to bring us up to our full potential and value, then we need to call in the Master Repairman, the Lord Himself. He is truly the only one that can help us make more than just cosmetic improvements. He has the skills, love, understanding and complete devotion and willingness to not just make a few repairs, but tear down the dilapidated parts of our souls and completely reconstruct them into something far grander and of greater worth than we can imagine.
C.S. Lewis put it very well when he said,
If we can but open ourselves to Him, He will not only surgically cut out and remove those infected and infested parts of our souls, but will replace the worn out parts with major upgrades far beyond our expectations. And a remarkable thing happens. Along with those improvements He makes within ourselves, we begin to see how to help others and aspects of society around us with more clarity.
So let us not ignore the aspects of our lives which need the closest attention, but instead open and embrace the necessary upgrades and all the comforts and benefits they have to offer. It will perhaps be the greatest investment of time and energy that we can make.