The Barn that was Too Much Alone
There’s a barn on the drive to my house on the little mountain that I have loved from a distance, that my camera has loved, too. I have wanted to slip through those white doors and smell the memories of leather harnesses, manure and old timber, see the dust motes in sunbeams, and search out the layers of corners to discover leftovers its stories, and hear its creaks under foot and the loud silence that comes with long emptiness, but I stayed to my roadside boundaries.
Did I tell you – it stole my heart, hidden in the Springtime behind the bloom of redbuds and scraggly green-leafed road-side trees. Winter kept it enclosed behind twined and linked branches. Every season, I looked forward to how mighty fine this barn looked, yet I never saw a man and his wagon-load of hay backing up traffic to fill this storehouse. I wondered if it was as empty or unused as it looked. The detail, the layers, the doors, one with a cross bespoke of a history of hard work, seasoned stories, great responsibility. One time this barn stored dreams three stories high.
When Winter came in January with its snow, followed by ice, and we were wrapping up in blankets because electric lines broke and there was no way to warm ourselves or the water, this storehouse, this beautiful barn that had withstood more storms than is known to those who fly by in the daily drive, that had stored more treasures than can be thought or considered, buckled and collapsed on itself. . . and it left me sad. . . as though the barn were unable to bear not only its challenges but the emptiness any longer without someone to love it, to mend it, to fill it with three levels of dreams and to know the story of the cross on the door.
I feel as though I have lost a friend I should have cared for better. Or maybe I truly lost a stranger so desperately wanting a friend, wanting to be needed, wanting to use the gifts within for which it was designed, but the people who flew by day after day weren’t interested and maybe the man who used to drive wagon-loads of hay forgot the way, who had dreams three stories high had lost his way or faced a challenge like a dragon that kept him away – because I think that is the only reason a man would stay away from his barn.
For whatever reason, this barn was too much alone and needed someone to need what it had to offer, to befriend it, to know the worth of it, and love it. Just like so many people in our community. Today I am remembering that God calls me from roadside safety to reach out to encourage, befriend, to listen to stories and see their worth, and help with burdens – either through prayer, a meal or maybe a paint brush and a hammer. I am so incredibly thankful God crossed that heaven-side boundary and listens to my stories, helps me live better ones, that he encourages me, befriended me – and loves me – even when I’m having a messy day and can’t straighten it out on my own.
“God hath thus ordered it, that we may learn to bear one another’s burdens; for no man is without fault, no man without his burden, no man sufficient of himself, no man wise enough of himself; but we ought to bear with one another, comfort one another, help, instruct, and admonish one another.”
― Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Remember Me Monday: #40 & Linky
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Share a Link Wednesday, Legacy Link-Up
Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Tell His Story
***All photos marked with Muddy Photography or © Blue Cotton Memory or used within Blue Cotton Memory blog(s) belong Blue Cotton Memory. Going forward, photos will be marked with Muddy Photography.
So much food for thought here Maryleigh! Such a beautiful analogy. I’m always saddened when beautiful creations die from neglect…so much to think about…
Barns are so much more than timber, Jennifer! It wasn’t my barn, but I felt the loss of it keenly! Shalom, Jennifer! ~ Maryleigh
I have read The Imitation of Christ several times. I love that quote and the thoughts this barn has now brought to us all. May we remember and be willing to bear one another’s burdens, as we all need one another. Blessings!
I am working through reading my great-grandmothers copy of The Imitation. It’s a rich meal, indeed! Praying that we see to stop and listen to the stories and realize the needs of those isolated! Shalom, Joanne! ~ Maryleigh
I appreciate your melancholy pondering on that lonely barn. I watched a barn being disassembled a few years ago with similar emotional response. Those old barns have so much personality.
It was melancholy, wasn’t it Michelle! When we are young and starting out, like my son who just graduated from college, we think we have time to gather all the stories. Then, when we are hungry for the stories – those who were the story keepers have left us. I think the barn echoed the stories and the people I miss. There’s so much more to a barn than its timber!
What beautiful photos that speak such history and such longing. Thank you for capturing these thoughts and stirring our hearts to be more aware of the lonely ones! Blessings and love to you this week.
Because we are a society where family now often lives hours away parents, grandparents – or children and grandchildren – it’s so important to reach out to neighbors, develop friendships with those who aren’t born into our families, to listen to stories and build relationships! With my computer crashing, and one son graduating and moving out, post-covid vertigo and varying energy level – it has been challenging to find a space to write to post. I’ve missed this community the last few weeks! Blessings to you, too, Bettie. I cannot wait to get caught up!
I am so grateful that God remembers us, hears us, sees us…and reminds us of those who are like that barn. Those who need a hand to hold, a voice to listen to, ears to hear them. Another beautiful post, Maryleigh. It has given me thought about myself during this Covid season as I am feeling like that barn these last few days, weeks.
There’s a story your thoughts – if barns had legs, where would they go? I can just see a 1950s style illustration with long arms that come out and legs that push up – as though the barn itself were it’s clothes and head – to go look for where it could be useful. The culture of covid has isolated too many people – we thrive with interaction, we need to be needed! Praying for you Linda as you maneuver through these times that are so antithetical to our design! Praying for ears to hear your voice, hands to hold, voices to share in give and take! You express the hearts desire and needs to so many!
Love the parallels & old barns!
There’s more to old barns than just the structure! It breaks my heart when they are torn down or fall down on their own.