I drew comparisons to life from a leaky roof yesterday when I asked one of the young men at church what he’s up to, now that he’s graduated from high school and living what would appear to be an ‘adult life’.
“I work for a roofing company,” he said through gritted teeth, his weary eyes trying to focus on mine.
“Do you like it?”
“It’s tough work and I’m always tired but I got money now,” was his tired response.
My attention was drawn away to another subject being discussed in our Sunday School class of twenty or so young men and women ranging from ages 14 to 18-years but my mind kept coming back to roofing. My attention wasn’t rapt by the process and materials of putting a roof on a house, but rather by the necessity of a roof on a structure.
I was transported back to my days as a youth in Samoa and the simplicity of village life where simple Samoan huts were and are still constructed with native materials to protect its inhabitants from the elements. In Samoa there are only two seasons – rainy season and really rainy season, otherwise known as the monsoon season which begins around November and extends through March. Though the sun beats down on most days it’s not abnormal to get a downpour in the middle of what is traditionally known as the summer months in Samoa where the humidity often makes locals and visitors long for a much needed respite and a tropical downpour.
Samoan ingenuity allows the residents there to stay relatively dry when it starts to rain. I say relatively because oftentimes, families who neglect their roof will find that their lack of preparation and forethought will be in for a long, miserable rainy season when water begins to leak and drip down on their belongings. Even those who have transitioned to the more popular corrugated tin or the increasingly popular asphalt shingles in Samoa know that if you do not stay on top of the repairs, the damage that can be done by a faulty or a shoddy and neglected roof is substantial and troublesome.
My fascination with roofs led me to this life comparison – how often do we neglect a spiritual leak in our lives knowing the damage that it may cause us in the long run? What are we allowing into our lives that have lasting consequences on our minds and souls as well as those we love? What destructive forces are we permitting to have access to our lives, our families?
Sometimes we are better prepared for the major events, the cataclysmic things that could happen because those are a more obvious threat that we and the rest of the world are advised to prepare for. But what about the things that seem less invasive; things that at first seem harmless but grow steadily over time until our only recourse is to completely carve it out, tear it down and rebuild in order to stave off its destruction?
My wife and I were discussing this in relation to television programming. We took shows that we had watched just ten years ago and compared them to chart topping shows that are popular today and realized that what we considered provocative back then hardly compares to the obscene and immoral things that are now available on network television channels. Some of the images and language that is now used in today’s television shows are downright pornographic and salacious. We chalk it up to free speech and freedom of expression but I have to ask myself, ‘Am I paying money to provide my sons with pornography and messages that I do not support?’
Talk shows, sitcoms, reality television even live sports beam images, conversation, language and ideas that are in direct opposition and conflict to the values that I try to teach my boys.
In my younger days I had this notion that in order to battle the depravity that plagues our world I should know what it is in order to object to it and speak intelligently and with experience when forming an opposing opinion. But though I agree it is important to do your research, I’m not going to go on an alcohol binge to know that it can destroy my health and my life. I don’t have to have an affair to know that it can destroy my marriage. I don’t have to sleep with the devil to know that he has bad intentions. But if I allow these things to seep into my life, slowly and certainly it will destroy me and my family, bit by bit until we inevitably find ourselves in a far more difficult situation that requires a major overhaul in thought and action, in order to make things right.
A roof can be repaired. Things can be replaced. But if you allow your emotional, spiritual and mental state to be subverted by deliberate, damaging external forces, some things, such as relationships and your conscious, are much harder to repair and replace.
Is your life leaking?