Once upon a time, there was a man who moved into a house. It was a really nice house, because he worked hard to make it special. His family and friends and the household staff all pitched in to make it a good house. They painted and sanded and nailed. They made sure it had strong foundations and a good, solid roof. That man paid the bills and took care of the ground the house was on. He helped his neighbors when they needed it – even the ones in the poorest of neighborhoods. It was a good house.
But then he moved out of the house and another man moved in. And that man did not treat the house the same way. He got a new staff who didn’t care about the house. This new man let cracks form in the foundation. He let the paint peel. His friends & family only made matters worse. They came over for big parties and used up all the resources the house had to offer. They dug holes and kicked in doors. Soon, the house was practically falling down and nothing grew on the land the house was on. The work went undone and the bills went unpaid. The man and his friends didn’t care about the neighbors – especially the poorest ones. Instead of helping them, they went out at night and toilet-papered their houses. They didn’t care about what they could do for the neighborhood or the house. They only cared what the neighborhood & the house could to for them. It was not a good house anymore.
But then, after a long, long time, yet another man moved into the house. This man wanted to make the house the grand place it used to be. But it was hard. The last man’s friends kept hanging around and getting in his way. Every time the new man would fix a door or window, they would kick it in again. When he tried to repair the foundation, they got out their jackhammers. For every shingle he put on the roof, they ripped off two more. Every time he would plant a seed on the ruined land, they would dig it up. But the man kept trying. And eventually, he started making progress. But the progress was slow, because of all the obstacles the last man’s friends had put before him, all the while mocking him for not being able to overcome them fast enough. It still wasn’t a good house, but it was getting better.
That house can keep on getting better, or it can get much, much worse. It all depends on who lives in it next.
I am hoping for the former, because it’s my house, too.