Peggy Harris, church elder Beltsville, Maryland

I was built with lots of love, sweat, tears, and sacrifice.
Because you cared.
I sheltered your young and old.
I saw your marriages begin,
Your children dedicated to God,
your youth and adults nurtured,
and your loved ones laid to rest.
You took care of me then─
I knew you loved me.
But the years took their toll─
now my carpet is frayed, my lawns appear ragged.
Weeds have taken over my flower beds.
I sag, I'm worn, and I weep.
And no one cares.

Could it be that some of those who once cared are gone,
and others too choked with worry and work?
Visitors come to see if they will be welcomed─
will anyone notice them?
Will they find love here?
Instead they see my wrinkles and flaws, and
people rushing here and there,
turning away from them.
I heard an echo somewhere─"Let us start building" (Neh. 2:17)
Do you hear? Will you answer?
Does anyone care?

─Peggy Harris, church elder Beltsville, Maryland