Page 296 was another family day as we prepare to wrap up our fall break adventures. The day began with a heavy cloud cover and cooler temperatures following yesterday’s rain. If yesterday’s rain didn’t slow us down, a downturn in temperature wasn’t about to deter us from another family adventure. Once we were up and ready for the day we threw the cameras in the truck and took off in search of the day’s adventure and things to photograph. The primary subject today was once again covered bridges but we kept our eyes open for whatever photo opportunities would present themselves. It ended up being another day with over 200 miles on the road looking for scenes to photograph. But that also meant over 200 miles riding together, photographing, and enjoying the beauty of creation and the company of one another.
The photo for today’s page is one that made me think about the way we care, or don’t care, for things. As we searched out covered bridges, a variety of other buildings would catch our eye. Sometimes they were new buildings that were designed to be eye-catching showpieces. Many times they were old buildings that had seen better days but were still (mostly) standing. It would be easy to think that time had not been good to them and they simply outlived their ability to endure. Even among the bridges, the condition of them varied greatly. Some of the old covered bridges no longer exist as they have deteriorated and fallen apart — often into the river they once crossed. Some still look attractive but are closed to traffic because the beauty is only skin deep. The surface has been taken care of but the important parts that aren’t nearly as visible are lacking the ability to do the job they were originally designed to do. And then there are those bridges that are still in use. For generations people have cared for them from the foundation up and the bridges have rewarded their caretakers by carrying them safely across the river waters underneath.
The photo contains an old shed with no roof, an abandoned house with sheets of the metal roofing and most of the windows missing, and a covered bridge that is still in use today. I don’t know when the shed or the house were built, but I would venture a good guess by looking at the design and material used that they are both newer than the 1886 construction of the covered bridge. The fact that the bridge is still in use speaks more to the desire of people through multiple generations to make sure it was maintained and cared for while the other two buildings reached a point where they were no longer cared for as they should have been.
The same is true of our lives and relationships. Their usefulness today is a direct reflection of the time we put into maintaining them on a consistent basis. It is when we become complacent in our relationships with people, and with God, that they begin to disintegrate without us even knowing it. Most of the time it is the gradual decline that goes by unnoticed on a day to day basis until all of a sudden we realize things are falling apart. It is at that point that many people decide it is too much work to restore what is broken and they give up. The good news is that we serve a God who specializes in restoration projects of all sizes! When we realize things are falling apart, it is time to turn to God and allow the power of His Spirit to bring life back into that which has died.
I pray that you and I would live life to the full as we discover the adventure of life God has given us. I pray that we would pay attention to the condition of our life and our relationships. I pray that we would work on both our life and our relationships on a regular basis rather than waiting for things to get bad before deciding something needs done. I pray that we would pay attention to maintaining the foundation and the unseen parts of our life rather than focus only on what people see. I pray that we would turn to God for complete restoration when we are in need of a rebuilding that only He can do.