Thursday, January 10, 2013

Builders and destroyers

Some people build things- buildings, movements, ideas, businesses, legacies. Other people tear things down. Both builders and destroyers have a place in the world. They serve necessary functions that allow some things to carry on and other things to be removed from the world.

My husband is sad to leave his old job, but more tellingly, he's sad to see things he has built being torn down by people who not only have never built anything, but don't recognize the work that went into building. Before he could build, my husband had to do some tearing down of his own. He had to treat down old ideas, old reputations. Then, he'd had to build new foundations on which he rested new relationships. Now, as he prepares his departure, he's getting confirmation in many ways, from many sources, that indicate the business is dying.  

I can understand his sadness.  He has devoted ten years of his life, to building his career and the business he represented.  It's normal to be sad to see things change, and it's even more normal to be angry when someone ruins something you accomplished.  I keep reminding him that he now has an opportunity to build something new, something different, but it doesn't change his sadness or frustration.  Right now, he is concentrating on building something new while preserving as many relationships and opportunities as he can for the future.  He doesn't want to be remembered as a destroyer, even though he knows leaving will make things worse.

All I can do is be supportive and try to help him build something better.  Hopefully, all of this will point us in the perfect direction that balances our financial needs, our drive to be good citizens of the world, and my husband's passion and knowledge of his field.  Standing still, waiting patiently for a better tomorrow, is no longer an option.  Deciding to throw our energies into creation of something healthy and the destruction of those things in our lives that are not good for us is.

I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave-ho and lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.

I asked the foreman, “Are these men skilled,
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What builders have taken a year to do.”

And I tho’t to myself as I went my way,
Which of these two roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and square?

Am I shaping my deeds by a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?
– Unknown (I found a couple of different authors credited with this poem, but no conclusive proof for any of them , so I will leave this uncredited.  It's a fairly well known poem and it appears in Hazel Feldman's "Best Love Poems of the American People".)

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