Our pastor showed this picture during his sermon a few weeks ago and I was captivated by the impact of this solitary house surviving the destructive winds of a hurricane. He definitely had my attention... but then my thoughts drifted to the possibilities and questions this picture inspired. and the blog I knew I would soon write.
My first thought went back to words from an old Bible School song, "The wise man built his house upon the rock...the foolish man built his house upon the sand." Was the location for the house in the picture on more solid footing than the surrounding sandy soil? How does that analogy apply to our lives too? Can we not survive life's storms more easily if we have a solid foundation of faith, values, and support of family and friends? No one can avoid life's storms, but how we plan for, respond, and ultimately move forward from those storms is often based on the things we can hold on to... and maybe more importantly, the things that hold on to us. When we believe in ethical principles, strong values, and have faith that will anchor us, we are better able to weather those storms. Those "things' are not tangible, but yet provide us context and hope. They help us make decisions and plan for a better tomorrow. The relationships we build with family, friends, and colleagues embrace us during times of joy and in times of despair. We may be likely to reach out to help others, but reluctant to seek the same help for ourselves, yet that is critical to our survival of the storms that roll through our lives.
Another thought that came to mind was that sometimes we feel like we are alone, standing out, with no one around us to whom we feel connected. At times, the alone feeling happens when we begin a new venture...a transition if you will... an opportunity for a new job, move, or regrouping after a life changing event, whether good or bad. Even amid the throngs of people that may surround us in our life or new location, we feel alone, facing this change without our usual supports. How do we get through these times? I believe it goes back to the foundations and relationships we have built that ground us, support us, and provide us with the hope and tools to stand strong and emerge to better times.
Finally I thought about how sometimes we are tempted to take the easy road because it is faster or the trendy thing to do. When we stand our ground and do what we believe to be right, we may feel like we are standing alone. Cautious or prudent behavior is not always popular or fun, but often can keep us from making hasty decisions that come back to bite us later. Students frequently hurry to get their work done so they can race out the door for recess, not taking the time to ensure accuracy or learning. What we do and how we do it matters. Did the builders of the house in the picture use better materials, or have a better blueprint to fend off storms when they erected that house? Consider the 3 Little Pigs children's story. The pigs that used sticks and straw to build their houses because it was fast and easy made fun of the pig who used bricks, but in the end, when the Big Bad Wolf came knocking, trying to blow their houses down, it was the house made of bricks that survived and sheltered that pig from the threat of the wolf who pursued all of them.
In the end, what we believe in, act on, and how we do it really does matter. Some might say it was luck or the grace of God that resulted in the house being spared. And while that may be true, there may be an explanation whereby we have some control over how the bumps and storms of life impact us. Find faith. Determine what is important that you will believe in. Build relationships that are helpful to you and the endeavors you seek. Then act in ways to support your faith and beliefs and nurture those important relationships. So when "the rains come down and the floods come up, your house on the rock stands firm."