Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Theme Thursday: Roof

Summer sun casts rainbows through sticky sweat dripping on fresh shingles. The pounding of hammers echoes in the small valley beneath the hill, chased by the slap of lumber on lumber. The addition will add much needed space to the one bedroom home of the four person family. This was our mission.

The roof, a small island, the last place to be when...pop, pop, pop...cracks like gunfire begin. Scanning the surrounding hills, heads of three snipers smile back as the barrage continues. Between the rain of card board and paper, mingled with the smell of gun powder, a glimpse of kids tossing fire crackers from their perch over head. 

Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop...minutes stretch as the attack continues.

Climbing to the train tracks that carved through the base of the hill between us, I call out for them to come down and face my wrath. Excuse in hand to invade, their shoes gleefully trace trails down to our work site. Smiles shine bright driving away any shadow of frustration.

My hammer and nails are were no good for work any more, as their weapons of mass distraction are traded for tools and some spare blocks of wood. Hearts emaciated, they hunger for attention. We sat by the rusty old swing set talking and playing the rest of the afternoon, beneath the stern gaze of the other workers.

Each day the kids join us at sunrise when we returned to our labor. Slowly other missionaries came around to play as well, trading off so I can work. Nails hammered by the kids into a block of wood create steel crosses and find a home in the crook of a nearby tree. Friendships are born, and love begins. 

Late in the week, our time drawing to a close, a neighboring pastor drops by...

I have seen those kids before, sad story. At home they don't get love. They are beaten and abused...physically, emotionally, sexually. We have tried, but...

The sound of my heart ripping churns hot bile in my stomach. Puddles form around my feet from the tracks of my tears. The rest of his words are lost in the cacophony of cluttering thoughts. I walk aimless down lonely streets, until I can breath.

The week goes by too fast and farewells seem too short. Quivering smiles press pictures into my calloused hands, which still reside between pages in the book by my bed. Every once in a while, thoughts drift back to my young friends and wonder if they still walk passed the block of wood in the crook of the tree on the way back to their house...and remember that love is.

In building a roof, we must never forget the people that live beneath them. They truly are most important.

38 comments:

Betsy said...

A moment of happiness to live in their hearts forever...

California Girl said...

I'm trying to get an early start and your post ripped me a new one. Children are so fragile, so full of hope, so not in charge.

Brian Miller said...

@betsy - its my hope...

@cali - sorry. i have recently found myself in similar circumstances...gets me every time. children deserve their innocence...tp have it destroyed by someone that should love them, that they trust...

The Silver Fox said...

Your post reminded me of a little girl named Carrie who used to live in my building. Pretty and intelligent, but always "acting up." Everybody thought she was a brat, but I think it was a classic example of her being starved for attention. I was one of the few who spoke to her as a real human being, rather than just, "Carrie, go away!" so she liked talking to me.

She and her dad moved out years ago. She'd be in her early twenties now. I wonder how she's turned out.

Lola said...

Weapons of mass distraction... priceless. A wonderful summery post of playful sunny days that turns into a nightmare. I cannot bear the thought of innocent children devastated like that. By someone they trust, I imagine. Someone who asked their silent compliance... Horrid. I cannot stand to hear these stories, they weaken me.
Hopefully that moment of bliss may be a safe place in their hearts. Hopefully...

Tom said...

it is a sad sad commentary on the human existence what you just wrote...God bless the little children!

Ronda Laveen said...

Out of the sadness I see brightness. Those of you who took time to be with the children. Loved your last line.

Lorraine said...

How many ways can a heart break...your words bring joy, peace, pain...I'll probably say it every time I visit, but your writing is precious...
ps as a poet and photographer I have thousands of photos, so if ever you need one to illustrate anything you write (although you draw a lot of pictures with your words lol) let me know which kind of photo you're looking for and if I have it i'll e-mail it to you for your use)

otin said...

I always know that your story will be interesting,no matter how generic the topic might be! Great writing!

Rob said...

Amazing how you pull this out every Thursday. Good stuff.

Liza said...

Another beautifully written story about your life. Your writing is filled with so much passion and emotion. What a wonderful life impacting experience. Thank you for sharing.

Jill said...

...and those few, brief days are poignant memories for these children...they will never forget those kindnesses...

Lovely post.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

your writing never fails to leave a big impact on my heart .... such a lush, vivid piece!

your line about weapons of mass distraction - fantastic play on words!

Kate Hanley said...

Beautiful. It really caused me to pause and linger over how lucky I am. I can forget that in the morning as I scramble to get ready for the day. Thanks.

mary said...

Gosh - this opens up such a heartache for me....I have lived this everyday for almost a year. In fact, I just deleted a rant in your comment box ........ patience, Mary, Patience. Thanks for sharing your beautiful perspective.

subtorp77 said...

Brian, amen to the last part, here. Too, "mass distraction"--LOL!

Marianna said...

Love the ending Brian. Thought-full, inspiring :)

Happy TT
xoxo

dreamhaven said...

a silver lining in a very dark cloud. I would love to give those kids a hug and bring them back with me. Wonderful writing

Rhonda in OK said...

sweet and sad story, God bless all you missionaries who work to make homes a better place.

Candie Bracci said...

wow,you never fail in your everyday "mission"!
Great post!Have a nice day!:)

VE said...

Beautifully written. You've taken on a tough subject in your own way. Thoughtful...

Mrsupole said...

You will never be forgotten by the children who lives you touched, even if it is for just a week or a few days. They will remember the time spent with you all and their minds will take them to the happy place when they need it. And maybe from that they will find a better situation or life. That is all one can do. Do what you can in each situation and hope you made a difference. I am sure you did.

God bless.

Daniel said...

I enjoyed this one today. Makes me want to do more, to try harder when it comes to having an impact on children. This is a skill that is not developed in me outside of my own little one. Blessings and thanks.

Leah said...

Well done and well told.

*sniffs a little*

Mar said...

Great, beautiful writing and I loved your closing sentences!

Rita said...

You always leave me speechless. You have done it once again. Sure makes it hard to comment when the wind has left the sail.

Brian Miller said...

@silverfox - i am sure Carrie was grateful for all the days you were the only onee that talked to her like a person. you may never know the effect you had on her.

@lola - hopefully. rips me up, so i am left with hopefully...

@tom - tis true...

@ronda - smiles. if only i had superpowers....

@lorraine - thanks! your pics are amazing so it would be an honor.

@otin - ty.

@rob - its like a puzzle. i thoroughly enjoy the challenge and the themes help cull old memories from the dark recesses of my mind

@liza - ty. if i could find it i would drop the actual quote but the essence is this "collect experiences, not things."

@jill - i have not seen them in over 5 years now. who knows our worlds may collide again.

@mouse - ty. its what is on my heart when i stare at teh blank box. the WOMD was a late add when i read back through before posting.

@kate - small blessings are easily over looked until somethign brings them into focus. i prob overlook more than i capture.

@mary - sorry i did not get to read it. always open to the lively comments. smiles. its a sad tale and working in counseling now i see much too much of it.

@subtorp - ty. smiles.

@marianna - ty. smiles. happy TT!

@dreamhaven - if i would have smuggled them i may have got in trouble, not for lack of wanting. encourages me to hug the boys daily.

Brian Miller said...

@rhonda (ok) - ty. we each have our own "mission" in life. small parts of our world that we touch in our daily passings. thank you for all you do.

@candie - i fail plenty, every day. some one once said "i miss more shots than i take." summs it up well.

@ve - ty, is tough, but a reality we have to face at times. have a great TT!

@mrsu - ty for your words, its why i do what i do. you never know how much the small touches can affect the trajectory of a persons life.

@daniel - you have what it takes...

@leah - back to sniffles again, ahhh! i was good for a week with positive happy posts! smiles

@mar - ty. there is always a little bit of truth in every experience, those are the fields i plow.

@rita - deep breath, i don't need the involuntary manslaughter charge. smiles. thanks for your comments and for reading.

Wings said...

Another great post, Brian. So sad. You are right, you must never forget.

Shrinky said...

Such a powerful post. Sadly, there are too many little ones in this similar dire situation. The hope is there are also others like you who will reach out with love and understanding to them.

I am certain you made a huge impact on their lives, perhaps more than you can know.

Brian Miller said...

@wings - definitely sad. see it too often, mostly neglect. too many times we walk on by.

@shrinky - ty. yes, many times we never know the impact of our time, concern, care...a responsibility we all carry. thanks for dropping by.

Deb said...

Well. I came over here to thank you for your kind comment over at my place and then I settled in and starting reading. And crying. And smiling. You are a strong writer - one who writes from his heart which is the best kind of writing. Powerful stuff. Take care.

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Brian,
I have been responding to follow TT members, throughout my breaks, but I’ am glad that I stopped by your blog too!...because you have written a very reflective, weighty and truth-seeking piece.

What do I think is the gist of your post? Well, that the people who reside underneath the roof(s) of a house are much more important than material things that inhibit the house with the "rooftop" that cover it...

…By the way, how nice of you, and others to reach out to the children too!...What a most excellant post!
Brian Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Baino said...

Fantastic piece Brian. Your writing is certainly evocative and you always leave us with a conundrum to consider. Great work you do . .great work.

Kitty said...

May all of us remember to be roofs for those whose hearts need shelter.

Michael Rawluk said...

One minute of time can make a huge difference in a life. Super piece of writing.

reyjr said...

lovely writing Brian!

tony said...

Amen Amen.Listen for the hearts beatibg below the roof not the raindrops pattering ontop of it.
]Sorry.I'm Late.just got home.'will read + catch up.]
Regards
Tony.