Dear Readers,

One day. That’s all it took.

Yesterday, I looked out my living-room window, and there was this gray, tired-looking, somewhat decrepit home that had stood in that same spot for the last many decades. Today, that house is gone; all that remains is an empty lot.

A rugged Caterpillar bulldozer arrived early in the morning and began clamoring away. We heard loud bangs, and by noon, half of the structure had been knocked down and cleared away into a nearby dumpster. The afternoon hours were spent hammering at the cement foundation; by dinner time, the tractor was clearing the remaining debris.

Throughout the day, as any of us passed through our living room, we would glance out the window and comment on how quickly this home was being smashed. “They’re up to the kitchen!” we would share or “That must be the last bedroom coming down!”

For years, families lived their lives in this home, and now it was gone. The entire structure in a single day!

From the other side of the street, we also hear loud noises. Vehicles come and go, and construction workers continuously set about their work. First, there were the huge shovels to dig deep below the ground. Then there was the especially enormous and noisy truck that laid the cement foundation. A few weeks later, framers were sawing and banging while constructing the structure’s wooden frame. Many trades were called in for their expertise: plumbers, electricians, trimmers, HVAC specialists and more.

Though they have been working continuously for more than half a year, that home is still nowhere near ready for occupation. More specialty fields will be commissioned to ensure that every part—from the raw architectural plans to the final finishes—is constructed to the owner’s wishes.

And yet, though it requires months or years and so many different experts to construct a beautiful home, in just one day it can be demolished. All it takes is one tough truck to ram it to the ground and destroy it.

Which makes me think of people.

It takes time, effort, kind words and wisdom to build up a person. Different kinds of “experts” in many fields are needed to bring out someone’s greatest potential. Yet each of us can offer our own small contribution to help building up some part of those individuals with whom we interact.

But it takes so little thought or effort to bang someone down and destroy. Harsh words, biting comments and uncaring actions can bring devastation so quickly.

And one ramming so often leads to the next. One negative word or attitude elicits an almost domino reaction, creating more negativity, until the whole beautiful structure crumbles to a pile of debris.

Word or actions have the power of destroying or building. Let’s choose to carefully and intricately to build up a world and humanity full of grace and goodness.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW