If I lean my head back while I’m sitting on my couch I have to stare at a dark line on my ceiling. We had a leaky roof and it left behind a few gifts before my house got a brand new hairdo. I am perpetually telling myself to get this ceiling painted now, dammit. When I throw my head back in annoyance, tiredness, in a dramatic fashion, and when I don't feel like navel-gazing and would rather ceiling-gaze, I don't want to have to look at this irritating blemish.
Then the irritating damn dark line in the ceiling becomes an allegory for what's going on in my life.
This roof was not a special, extraordinary roof, it was just a normal everyday housetop doing housetop things. And there it stood for years, buffering away the elements and little critters, protecting the house underneath. Eventually, as all things ordinary do, the roof started to grow weary. The snow that year felt so much heavier than the snow from previous years. The sleet and rain slapped harder at its shingles, looking for ways in. The wind seemed very eager to take a peek at what was lying beneath its once stable flaps, and the animals teeth and nails were quite a bit sharper that season. What does a roof do when it starts to fatigue, when the outside continuously tries to get in? It doesn't want to sacrifice being a solid roof, yet the storms are so hard to bear. So the housetop makes a deal with itself, "I will let a little of this in that I try so hard to keep out, just enough to lighten the load." And so the roof shakes itself, loosening its shingles a bit and allows what it has protected itself against to seep in slowly.
A little time passes, and the roof gets used to the small invasion and continues to do its ordinary housetop jobs. The elements come again and again asking for more and more openings to slither in to, "I have no more to give, I have to protect what is inside of here." Persistent and unrelenting those elements were though, so the roof with an exhausted sigh shook itself again and loosened its shingles one more time. For years it went on, and the ordinary housetop, who was not extraordinary, who liked to do normal everyday roof things did not realize how much it had loosened its shingles until one day the inside of the house started crying. By then, all the roof could do was watch as what it was charged to protect wept and sickened. Shamed, the roof realized how much of itself it had compromised to take away the weight of responsibility. It had willingly opened those cracks, it had let it happen again and again until all that was left was a shell of a roof and a sorrowed, mourning inside.
One day its loose shingles were scraped away, and it was painful to see them go. The roof, who was quite fond of its shingles, grieved. But, it was time for them to be removed. They were not healthy, and they could not protect the inside anymore. For the roof needed to do its job, and it could not do its job with what it was covered in. So now sits a roof, an ordinary roof who likes doing ordinary roof things, and every day it squeezes itself together tightly, for it has a very important job and it cannot let the walls weep ever again. And the roof is learning to love its new shingles.
I seriously need to get this ceiling painted.