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Building Tomorrow
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Photo: Andrey Butenko
Several years ago, my only brother succumbed to an untimely death at the age of 52. After receiving the unwelcome news, my daughter and I numbly made the six hour drive through California’s central valley to his home. Early September temperatures were approaching triple digits.

Steve had suffered from mental illness since his 20’s and had lived in our parents home for many years. Mom and Dad were both gone by 1989, at which time my brother began to manage the house on his own.

At first, it seemed to go O.K. but gradually there were signs of trouble. Yet Steve, who was fiercely independent, insisted upon remaining in his home.

Pulling into the drive, I wondered what we would find. Peering through the dingy front window, I could barely see into the darkened kitchen. Once inside, we were stunned by the disarray. Clutter was everywhere. The house was very dark; almost every light bulb had burnt out and had not been replaced. The A/C was broken, as was the central heat. Windows were without screens. Both bathrooms were Out of Order—no working toilets, showers or sinks. The plumbing was shot. The kitchen stove was ruined. Lifting up the lid of the washer, I was amazed to find a load of laundry, grey and petrified – hard as a rock. Apparently it had been waiting about five years to be tossed into the dryer.

In the midst of the muddle, it soon became apparent that my brother had not been living alone. Rats had built their nests under every dresser, hutch and bookcase. Plastic peanut butter jars, disposable razor guards and other miscellaneous treasures lined their dens. Soon we found their calling cards on every chair and table top.

Fifteen years prior, this same residence was immaculate and well kept—a beautifully maintained home. Now it lay in a shambles. Ironically, nothing major had brought about its destruction—just a little neglect over time.

Letting It Slide

Every day we have the opportunity to build or let slide in many areas of our lives. We can exercise and eat nutritious food, and in time we will reap the bounty of good health and longevity. Or, we can let slide.

If we live a bit below our income and save rather than accrue debt, we will amass a nest egg of financial security in time. Or, we can let slide.

If we make time each day for God, our spouse, our children and other loved ones, we will net rich rewards in the form of loving and secure relationships. Or, we can let slide.

Ignore any of these areas routinely and expect a less than positive outcome. Nothing happens in a day; everything occurs almost imperceptibly by degrees. But the choices we make today will inevitably create our tomorrow.

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By Kathy Lewis. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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