Several years ago, many new houses were being built in our small local New England town and surrounding communities. There was only one contractor for all the foundations that were necessary. You can imagine the hard work, long hours, and backbreaking work that was put into building these new homes on a daily basis was like. What the contractor did not realize, until it was too late, was that there was a naturally occurring iron sulfide, pyrrhotite, from a nearby town’s quarry, in the concrete. Pyrrhotite causes the slow deterioration of the concrete when exposed to oxygen and water. The cracking starts small and may take anywhere between 10 to 30 years to appear, slowly splintering out like a web, over time. The damage is irreversible. Upwards of 35,000 new homes that had just been built were affected. Their value had become virtually nil, as no one with this knowledge would purchase a home in this condition. Many homeowners simply walked away and let the bank repossess the house.
Crumbling. No Support. Devastating. Major Loss.
These brand new, beautiful houses meant to shelter and provide protection for families, simply rotted away without a single day of use. This is what a life without a solid foundation looks like. When the storms of life hit, and they do for everyone at some point, there is nothing to hold things together. The cracks start small, almost imperceptible. Without the correct tools and proper attention, they grow, soon becoming much too large to mend. It feels like the only option we are left with is to walk away, and start fresh.
At 65 years old, it’s safe to say I’ve had a pretty smooth life. That is not to say I haven’t been faced with some difficult decisions. I won’t go into all of it, but there were many, many days I really felt like I was falling apart. The stress I faced at certain points really would have done me in if I hadn’t had some solid teachings in me. There were days I felt like giving up, but I could not – we had four children to raise, bills to pay, obligations to meet. Sometimes it felt like the cracks in my foundation were growing faster than I could repair them. Every time I would fill one in, a new one would appear, like a frustrating game of whack-a-mole.
What I learned is: living in a constant state of stress day after day without a sure and strong foundation can lead to apathy, depression, addiction, displaced anger (that’s how it manifested for me) among a multitude of other things.
And who wants to admit that you’re completely losing your mind? Everything looks good on the outside as you present your smile and live within the facade you’ve created.
So, you push on. Making one mistake after another, hurting people, hurting yourself. Hindering your true growth.
Even with the somewhat solid foundation I thought I had, I found myself in this scenario for a while. Unlike the houses mentioned above, however, I did not lose my value. I thought I had. People may have walked away from me thinking I was a total loss, but I was not. My cracks only let the light in. My value was, and forever will be, based on the eternal fact that I am loved. Just like you.
Looking back, I see everything that I went through was there to teach me. Teach me how to use the tools I was given. Teach me how to look for the tools I was not given. It made me hungry…hungry for truth, for peace, and true agape love.
I will share what some of these tools are in my next blog. In the meantime, check out my song below.
“Betty’s Song – Something Beautiful” in this link: writeofpassagesdotorg.wordpress.com
(once within the site, scroll down to find the song)
Much love, Becky