Maintenance

It’s on the corner of Center and High streets, a lovely brick building that once housed the town library. The morning sun slants in the windows, creating an airy space within; the afternoon sun glances off this side window, and mirrors the dazzling sun-on-waves found on the river just down the street. There is a grace to this old building, and the town is made more beautiful for it.

But give it more than a passing glance and the neglect cannot be overlooked. The bricks are no longer held fast by mortar; it’s only a matter of time, and not a lot of it, before whole sections are sheared off by the erosive effects of weather and age. No matter how well constructed this building was, regular care and maintenance are necessary to keep it solid and safe for use – regular care that was withheld for at least the past twenty years.

In this building, I see the beauty of craftsmanship, a structure built to serve this town for hundreds of years. In its disrepair, I see a town’s lack of respect for its own inherited history and beauty. There’s a stinginess to withholding basic repair to save a few dollars, and a lack of understanding that routine maintenance is necessary for all things.

I hope the town invests in this building, restoring it to serve as a resource for decades to come. But leaders unwilling or unable to recognize the necessity of routine maintenance aren’t likely to invest in an expensive restoration.

If leaders cannot see the necessity for investing in what is right before their eyes, what are the chances that they will invest in the intangible and sometimes invisible elements that foster communal life – services for the elderly and poor, resources for the very young, and the preservation of the local environment and all that live therein?

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Maintenance”

  1. Johnna, I love that building. Although I haven’t lived in Wareham for 16 years. seeing that building invokes wonderful memories of taking my son and neighborhood children to story hour each week . It was so warm and cozy,
    I also was a library trustee there and saw first hand that we needed a new library. It was evident when Kathy Gleason was carrying Patrick up and down the stairs. We needed it to be handicapped accessible.
    We got it. Let’s not forget the wonderful memories we’ve had and what could be.

    1. Thanks, Anita. It was a wonderful gift to the town when the new library was built – the result of so many dedicated people! There is always a chance that more such happy results will follow. Peace, Johnna

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