When I was a child, we’d often visit my grandparents in New Hampshire. There was an old, dilapidated barn en route to their cottage, and every time we made the wide turn that would reveal the barn on our left, I’d feel a twinge of anxiety. It always looked as if it would collapse at any moment: tilted, rotted, and barely standing. Though I’d breathe a sigh of relief once it came into view, I’d secretly often wish that it would just fall down already so I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.
But worry I did. When there were heavy rains or wind, I’d worry the barn would fall into the house that was adjacent to it. When we’d drive by in the winter, I’d worry that the weight of the snow would finally bring it down, possibly on top of some unsuspecting child or pet.
Though I was an anxious child, I didn’t have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and my worries would usually dissipate soon after the barn was out of view. But every now and then I’d wonder if the barn was still standing, and hoped if it had fallen, nobody had gotten hurt. While this worry didn’t consume me, it definitely took up more time than it should have.
Years passed, and newly built roads not only got us to the cottage quicker, they bypassed the barn as well. I thought of it occasionally, but over time it pretty much faded from my memory.
Until a couple of weeks ago. I was in the area and decided to take the old road to the cottage. The barn wasn’t even in my thoughts, until I made that wide turn. That old twinge of anxiety from forty-five years ago returned and I looked to my left, not knowing what to expect.
There it was.
After all these years, that barn was still standing. Through decades of wind, rain, and snow, it had remained upright. And there was something different about it, though it took me a while to pinpoint what it was: It didn’t look quite so bad. It hadn’t been repaired, but it wasn’t in as poor shape as I’d remembered.
I smiled. Surely there were some lessons here:
Things are rarely as bad as they seem.
And, for most of us, through all the “wind, rain, and snow,” we’re still standing.