I sometimes wonder why I am still standing.
There is a word I had written on a familiar wall many years ago. The word, “Why” was running through my mind as I stood in a stairwell, staring into the void of my heart. In between a break-up with a woman I had been engaged to and a girl I had nothing in common with, I often felt as if I would always be alone. I felt it all deeply that day, there, in the stairwell. I was also on a slippery slope, loaded on and numbed by the things that would keep me distracted from my truths.
I raised my pencil and wrote my heart in a little area of the wall on that cold day. If one were to be walking on those stairs, they would surely miss my little written voice. A cry for help, etched into the paint. A small mark, overlooked, in the vastness. The scribbled word is something that I know is there, and it is still there. I see it from time to time, and it serves as a humbling reminder of a place I have been.
I pass these little dilapidated buildings all over our town. It’s funny how something that I see can stimulate a memory, and today the little building brought about a clear picture to the why question I had all of those years ago.
The little shack: broken out windows, a worn out roof, missing pieces and decay. The foundation is sunken. Its weathered exterior has let the elements into the interior spaces that once kept the contents dry and safe. It leans and labors in its old age, but yet, it stands.
The building is me.
As a child, my foundation was strong as an ox. The innocence of a newborn child under the eye of a God who formed me in the womb of my mother. A baby: born into a place where that foundation was firmly built upon the nurturing of my mother and her supervision. As I grew, the walls were raised, the windows were strategically placed and the roof was applied. I became a structure.
Then, life happened.
My windows, early on, always had a picturesque scene to behold on the other side. My walls were sturdy. My roof always made for a reliable cover from the ongoing storms. Life seemed to be good inside the structure. As time went on, those walls began to loosen. The sights outside slowly became unsightly. My roof began to let the harm from the outside, in. The brokenness and shambles of the life of mine began to define my structure, causing it to become a useless shelter for my dying heart.
I found this little shack to be in a state that had seen better days, much like the memories of myself in the past. I found the little shack to have all of the characteristics of a will to survive. Willing to go on – much like myself: Still standing.
In my heart (the structure I had been), the run of newness gave way to the slow decay: the walls that were once solid lost their stability. My widows allowed me to acknowledge the views, outside and in, before the panes were shattered by the pains within. The roof began to leak, letting in the things that destroy. The fortress (my strength) became a ramshackle, leaving me with a leaning shanty. Nothing was left to hold back the invasions of my enemies: the mind, the many demons, the hot irons and the lack of information that kept me stirring in the mud pits of fear.
There is a door on this shack that is still under lock…
The dilapidated shack: the fallen boards, the weathered materials and the rotted door, still secured behind an old, rusted lock. But really, what purpose does this old lock serve? The structure is no longer able to hold back the intrusive. It has little stability. The windows could be peeled away and the door could probably be torn from the hinges. Not much good on this shack of ruin.
The lock on my tattered structure does have purpose, and the lock is the Lord.
Years back, when I had written the word of that unanswered question on the wall, and the structure that I had become was little more than a hovel that housed a dying heart, unbeknownst, I was still secured. I still had the answers to all of those questions, but I just couldn’t see the correct way of finding those answers (through Him) at the time. I didn’t see the lock of His making. I didn’t see the security of His grace and mercy. I only looked for the answers in the wrong places in a world apart from Him. I only looked at the decay, and not the blessing of still having a little shelter from the outside. I didn’t know the security through the blood that Christ had shed for me.
Today, my tattered shelter has a strong lock on it, and this lock holds all its carnage together. It keeps it from tumbling over. The Lord has also provided the key to the lock, and His name is Jesus. I praise God for His answer to the question of old, and I’m now thankful for seeing this dilapidated structure just as new as it had been in the beginning of my life here.