Monday Rewrite: The Derelict Building

The shiny new constructs overshadow it now. Smart clean buildings, all steel and gleaming concrete.
The sign of a prosperous new dawn. Business and enterprise. You can practically hear the sound of the tills beeping. The credit card numbers being punched. These beautiful Babel towers bristling with success and commerce.

The crumbling wreck beside them is an eyesore. Overgrown with weeds, windows boarded up and broken, traditional doorways blocked in, bits of roof tiles scattered in the grounds. Old adverts hang half-off, mildewed and ravaged by the weather. What good could possibly come from there?

Yet, as the ivory towers open for business, and the bustle of customers rings through the air, quietly, unnoticed, those who cannot make it into the other places shuffle into the grey crumbling relic. Finding there a refuge. A place where they do not have to put on a front. A place where they may talk openly about their struggles and addiction, their doubts and fears, the chequered backgrounds that now exclude them from the shiny new empire next door. No entrance fee, no expectation to buy.

That which the builders rejected has become a touchstone for others. A solid place – lacking in beauty as far as the world is concerned – but full of unexpected life. When the tills and the car park fall silent, the building next door comes alive. Nothing about it really to attract us, and yet a place full of resurrection.

Psalm 118 vv 21-23

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