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What does it take to build a cathedral?



Or turn your home or business into a piece of art – distinctive – unique –  inviting?img_3737

And when wars or flood waters smash and destroy what you have built, what do you do?

What does it take to start over again?


How do you pick up the pieces and reassemble them?

What would be different?

What would be the same?


As I visited towns and cities on my river cruise last

month, our guides not only took us to see spectacular

and colossal churches, buildings and bridges, but also

recounted destruction from wars and floods.


There are times when our lives resemble a battle field; when competition, rivalry, hostilities and conflicts spin out of control and we are left feeling like a casualty of war.


We saw pictures mounted on walls showing the destruction of bombs. It reminded us that even

when nothing remained but a burning pile of rubble, these cities and bridges were rebuilt –

sometimes reassembling the original – sometimes with modifications.



As we live our lives, we will experience not only tough times, but what might seem like a war zone.

Looking around us, our lives may seem like rubble.


What do you do when expectations are trashed

and the world you thought would last forever no longer exists?


When we are in the middle of a battle, our thoughts focus on survival.  But when the tornado winds have past and the flood waters recede we are required to shift from survival to picking up the pieces to rebuild – restore – and create a new beginning.


What is the next step we need to take?


The human spirit is incredible. Our imaginations can create plans to build the most intricate and beautiful structures and statues and emblems of faith and hope.

What history teaches us is that when such creations are destroyed, people rise up and rebuild. We see the results of that.



But when it is our lives that have been broken or trashed, it seems harder to recover.


Where do we begin?


Sorting through the rubble it may seem there is nothing that can be saved. Tragedies, losses and huge life upsets are never easy to work through.

But what I have found in my own life when everything seems to have been turned inside out and  upside down, is that there are important things I can take away from such events.  It is where I learn to trust in God.  It is where I learn to accept responsibility for myself, my choices and my actions. It is where I have the opportunity to grow.




It is in just such circumstances that I have become honest and genuine.  I accept both my strengths and my weaknesses.  It is where I come to realize what is really important and valuable in life.


I can make new choices that can take the stones of the past and rebuild into something more long lasting.



Marlene Anderson

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