Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The Coming Storm
Last week, a ferocious storm blew through our area. It blustered and howled and threatened to lift the very roof off our shouse. As is typical here, the wind was stayed until everyone had been tucked snugly into bed. As the shouse grew quite, the wind began to softly sing. It started out quietly and then grew louder and louder and louder. Soon, it was knocking at the door, politely asking to come in. When we didn't answer, the wind grew aggressive. No longer was it polite. It became positively demanding. Then it began ripping at the shouse itself, trying to gain entry.
As I lay in bed, praying that the roof remain in tact, I realized that, as a nation, we are facing a storm of epic proportions. The wind has begun to blow. It will grow stronger. And, it will threaten our very foundations.
The wind blew, the beams creaked and I prayed. Through the night, the wind sung its siren song but the shouse held fast. It held fast because we had no loose ends. Our shouse had been carefully maintained. Knowing we live in a windswept area, we had been sure to tighten any loose screws and strengthen weak areas. Our chicken coop, on the other, hadn't been maintained quite so well.
A while ago, I had noticed that a screw had come out of the metal roofing on the chicken coop. It was only one little screw, so I didn't give it much thought. Every once in a while, when the breeze picked up, the metal would slap against the roof, but other than being a little annoying, it wasn't really posing much of a problem. As time went by, I noticed that another screw was missing. Still not a big deal. I didn't think of bringing it to Sir Knight's attention. We would take care of it when it really needed to be fixed.
As the wind blew during the storm, I heard the chicken coop roof metal frantically flapping. Bang, bang, bang! Every time it beat the roof, my prayers became a little more fervent. Bang, bang, bang! The sound was driving me nuts. It mingled with the howling wind and creaking beams, robbing me of the sweet slumber I so desperately craved.
As the morning dawned, the wind withdrew, leaving behind the ravages of nature. I ventured into the morning mist to survey the damage. Remarkably, the shouse was left untouched. No missing pieces of roofing material, no doors ripped from their hinges. There were a few barrels tossed about and a number of things littering the yard, but short of that, we were left unscathed. And then I saw the chicken coop. Large portions of the metal sheeting had been ripped from the roof and lay mangled in the pasture. The tar paper crumpled in shreds, no longer offering any protection to the plywood sheeting. Much more than a small section missing two screws lay in ruins.
Frustrated at my lack of foresight, I realized that our lives are so like that chicken coop. We are facing the biggest storm of our life. If our country collapses, it will be the equivalent of a massive hurricane. Our relationships are like those missing screws. If we have problems that are left unattended, it will be the complete undoing of our entire house. It is so easy to think that it is just one little screw. We can ignore that - it isn't really a big deal. It may grate on us, bug us, even irritate us to no end, but we can handle it, right? But when the wind blows, as it always does, it will pull at that one loose piece of metal. That irritation will rub and rub and rub. As it rubs, it will be just like that metal, loosening the next screw and the next. Soon, your entire house will be left without protection. If a massive storm envelops you, having not battened down your hatches, your house will be destroyed. There is no substitute for maintenance. Not only do we have to maintain our homes, we have to maintain our relationships. We will need every one of them. If you and your spouse are having a tough time now, it is only going to get worse when the storm hits. You may think that when the collapse comes you will pull together, because you have too, but, the reality is, the storm will tear you apart. You can't let that happen. You are going to need each other. We can't just spend our time preparing for all our physical necessities. What kind of preppers would we be if we didn't prepare our relationships to withstand the storms? And as far as I can tell, one of the best ways to prepared for a hurricane force storm is to tighten all the screws. To batten down the hatches. We can do no less in our relationships.
We all see the storm coming. Please, don't put off taking care of your most important relationships thinking that they will take care of themselves. They won't. Just like that chicken coop roof didn't miraculously repair itself, breaches in your relationships won't either. And you are going to need the people in your life a whole heck of a lot more than you will need a chicken coop. Or even a house for that matter.
The storm is coming. Now is the time to take care of business.