Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Built To Last

In early summer Dad committed to do something that would clean up our homestead: He agreed to tear down the white garage that was part of the property when they bought it in 1978. We believe the garage was built right around 1955 - built to last, in fact. But in the more recent years the white garage has deteriorated. It no longer houses Dad's time and attention. His shop has moved to the farm. The cars are  now parked in the infamous Red Barn. The garage now held recyclables, trash cans, old tools and a few bird feeders hanging from the rafters. It had become an eyesore. It was time. 

We spent a few hours each week this spring cleaning it out, finding gems like the essay I blogged about, a lot of aluminum cans and really, just a lot of junk. In one day we aligned our tools, patience and manpower and brought the (finally empty) white garage to the ground. 

Please excuse my annoying voice while I held my nephew. 

That day I focused on taking out the old metal tracks of the overhead garage doors. After spending some time trying to remove a rafter from the line of sight to a bolt, I broke down and asked for help from my brother-in-law, Scott. He climbed up on the ladder. He finagled and he spent some time on it, too. For as poor of shape as the garage seemed to be, there were parts of the interior that were completely in tact. Then Scott said something that I jotted down in my phone as soon as I was relieved of ladder-holding duties. 

He commented as he worked about the trouble we were having getting the hardware out of the main beams of the building. Moments passed, he continued to work. 

"I guess on the day this garage was built the builder wasn't thinking about 
how tough it would be for us to tear it down, huh?"

I agreed with him; he was right. When someone is pouring their heart and soul - and sweat and money - into building something, under no circumstances do they think about the effort it will take someone else to tear it down. 

I wonder what it took Don C. Merchanthouse to build that white garage. Tools, time, organization, planning, labor, patience, money, lumber, hardware and more. 

And it took us a several hours of labor and horsepower to tear it to the ground, easy as that. A few strong forces combined and we had a burn pile that attracted all sorts of attention...but that is a blog for another day. 

As much as I hate to give her any more attention, here it goes...

For whatever reason I thought of Scott's quote when watching a Youtube version of Miley Cyrus' VMA's performance. I didn't even know the awards show was on until dozens of comments about the performance threw up all over my Facebook feed the next day. Sadly, I had to see for myself. 

Sad, indeed; I thought back to Scott's quote: 

"But I guess on the day this garage was built the builder wasn't thinking about 
how tough it would be for us to tear it down, huh?"

His thoughts can be directly correlated to the complete downfall of a kid with so much promise. What happened to her? The white garage analogy explains it well: Forces combined and the frame wasn't strong enough to support what was built. 

Think about the work that goes into building a family. You work hard to communicate your feelings and emotions (even the tough ones), to respect one another's opinions, even when you think a pizza without onions isn't worthy of being called a pizza at all. To put their needs and wants ahead of your own (this goes along with the pizza situation).  You work hard to raise a child to be a respectable, respectful, hard-working adult. Hopefully one that has the roots to desire to visit home but one that has wings strong enough that they don't live in your basement past a certain age.

The tools used in building a strong family bond - or relationship - are (not limited to) patience, kindness, work ethic, selflessness, humility, accountability and discipline. 

But like the old, yet steady, rafters in the white garage, a few strong forces combined can tear that bond to the ground. And today those forces are easily accessible and aplenty. And they aren't just accessible to Miley and every other star; you and I encounter each daily

Modern media

Each things that can take a really strong frame, like the promise of a well-guided child, and tear it to the ground. 

You see, I believe if Miley had those components - those rafters - in her life to stabilize her acquired fame, the downfall of her decentcy wouldn't have been so easily done by the few tools that were used: fame, money, pressure and lack of accountability. I understand this didn't happen overnight for her; it just became painfully public on Sunday. 

In your relationships with others - your responsibility as a parent, an uncle or a friend - are you focusing on the rafters? Are you thinking clearly about the forces that surround each of us that could lead us - or those dear to us - astray? 

Unlike the builder of the old white garage, I encourage you to think about what could tear down the things you're focusing so much time and energy to build up. Can you disconnect? Get to work? Listen more? Simplify?  Eliminate temptation? Be more supportive? Courageously speak your honest opinion?

Nows the time. You never know who needs certain strengths from you to continue to be strong or positive in their own life. As you build, consider the future. Make sure it's built to last. 

Because let's be serious. If that was your little sister on stage Sunday night, there is a really great chance there would be one less sibling at family Christmas this December. And no more teddy bears or foam fingers purchased in your household, ever


  1. LOVED reading this, Lindsay! Now, it's time to wake the girls and start putting up strong rafters...thanks for another deeply-touching blog!

    1. :) I have no doubt the Roberts girls already have the start to the strongest of rafters! Thank you for reading!

  2. You are so right. The foundation is key, for one day they leave the nest and you better hope they are well prepared and adept enough to choose the right paths. The world we live in today is filled with so many dangers and odd influences! This makes me think of another "wisdom"..."It takes a village to raise a child". I believe this so strongly, and think about it more and more every day. When they are young, you create the village for them, surrounding them with good friends and good people who will provide strong examples and set them up to seek life's successes. That's why I love the livestock industry so much. There isn't a better village, or family, in my opinion. As they grow, they start to create their own village, and those people mold, guide, and influence them just as much, if not more. I wonder how much my "villagers" realize the roles they play in my life and my child's life. I know I don't always think about the villages I am a part of, and how I could make them better.

  3. So, so true Gretchen - and the Villages topic could be a whole new blog in itself! I hadn't thought about it that way, but it makes perfect sense. And yes, we are part of the luckiest :)