Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lenten 40: abandoned places

[photo by Samantha Duggan]

there's an old, abandoned hospital just on the edge of town. every time i drive past it, i am fascinated. emptiness with scattered things left behind, i imagine, fills the building. it was once a tuberculosis hospital. people were quarantined there. trapped. forgotten. over time, the building deteriorated and was left to occupy space in the midst of a peaceful countryside.

soon, the Molly Stark Hospital will be torn down, that is if enough money can be secured, and what once was a place for the sick and the diseased will be replaced by a community park.

what is it about abandoned places that remain so intriguing? is it the untold or forgotten stories of each place? is it the mystery? the haunting feeling that comes when in the presence of such a place?

photographer Henk van Rensberge has a website full of his photographs of [abandoned-places]. a simple google search will bring you to many 'abandoned' images.

there is something to leaving everything behind with a reckless abandon, to do something greater. perhaps it's to follow one's dreams or to do what seems impossible. maybe it's putting aside the mistakes of the past and striving for a better way of living.

but leaving it all behind... no matter what 'it' is, is not easy. leaving behind childish behavior... leaving behind addiction... leaving behind abuse or anger or whatever it is that is holding us back is going to be painful. moving forward and pressing on is what we were designed to do, but the trap is always there... and sometimes we don't have the guts to leave.

this is just the place for faith in one who is greater than you or i.

the question then comes: "what are we abandoning ourselves to?" there is a better way out there for all to choose, if we so choose. it may mean abandoning things that we love (for all the wrong reasons) so that we may abandon ourselves to Jesus. the better way starts when we give up completely and stop trying to make it on our own. the better way begins when we are empty.

what will there be to show of us if we choose to walk alone? nothing more than a shell of an abandoned building with truths that have been long forgotten and stories that were never told.

may these abandoned places remind us of what doesn't have to be. may our stories of abandon be told with boldness.

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