Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Walls and Those Who Love Me

If you've never read the book "The Wall: a parable" by Gloria Jean Evans, I highly recommend it! I don't believe it's still being printed, but used copies can be found on Amazon.com. Unfortunately for me, when I needed to read it, Amazon.com didn't exist.

But, God wouldn't keep that fact from getting in between me and a book I desperately needed to read. (Even then, He was actively "stalking" me, but this was WAY before I was aware of it - I was barely aware of His presence in my life back then.)

It was in the early days of the "womb house". Over a decade had passed since my rock experience, yet I was still longing to discover my Self; to be comfortable in my own skin. I was actively investigating my 'assets' and 'defects' of character.

One day, a package arrived for me from Louisiana. The handwriting was unfamiliar, as was the return address. I opened the paper to find a paperback book - no more than 50 or 60 pages, with only a few sentences on each page. The illustrations caught my eye. Black and white sketches of people and walls and flowers and hands... Stuck between two pages was a note. "For your journey. Please return when you are done. I love you, Karen".

"Wow", I thought. "I've never even met this woman outside of my email inbox, and she trusts me with her book." I'd get it back to her.... eventually.

I sat on the steps of that old house, the breeze from the river blowing through my hair. I opened the book and started reading. Twenty minutes later, I closed the back cover, wiped the tears off of my cheeks and headed inside.

I now knew how I would proceed with my Self-assessment. I pulled out construction paper, scissors, glue and a sharpie. I cut shapes in green, brown and red - stones in my wall. I took the sharpie and wrote on the stones, naming them: "Procrastination", "Denial", "Unexpressed Anger". Lost in the creative process and letting my intuitive side lead, I continued: "Patience", "Truth-Seeker", "Creative"...

More and more stones were named, and eventually glued in place on the 11x14 background. When I finally stood back to look at the results, I was amazed. There it was. My wall- my Self- laid out before me.

I looked more closely and was fascinated by what I saw. The stones were color-coded. Character defects were brown, assets green and red. Even more curious was the pattern in which they were laid. On first glance, it's primarily brown, with some color here and there. The stones near the top - "Honesty", "Level-headed"- were the ones I allowed people to see. Those on the bottom, I kept most hidden.

Most curious to me now - I doubt I even realized it then - is the stone in the most lower right corner: "Spirituality". It is buried deeply beneath "Self-abuse", "Over achieving", "Self-doubt", "Denying my gut", "Unexpressed Anger" and "Rationalization" - there *IS* a little "IALAC" ("I Am Lovable And Capable") thrown in the midst for good measure.... a little.

For the years that I lived in that house, the framed "wall of my Self" hung in the hallway between my kitchen and my bathroom (no one visited me there, remember?!) It served as a reminder to me of what lay between me and connection to the people in my world...and between me and my God.

Little by little, as in the parable, I identified the stones in my life and became willing to ask God to help me remove them. Little by little, light began to return to my world.

When I married, and left the "womb house", the picture was put into storage. I pulled it out again when I moved to my current home - post divorce. I was amazed at what I saw and at how much my life had changed in the decade since it's creation.

Some of the defects remain, of course, but through the mercy, grace and love of God- and others who have loved me in spite of myself- they have been significantly decreased or set aside. With learning to trust and allowing myself to be vulnerable, has come much freedom.

There is Joy and light where once there was Sorrow and darkness.


In case you're wondering: Yes, I did return the book to Karen - with a copy of my wall. At the prompting from the Gentle Voice Within, I purchased my own copy several years ago - and with further prompting, have recently re-read it. There is a work in process, no doubt.... we'll see where I'm headed now...

It is also this wall that another 'teacher' referred to when she recently noted that I didn't need it anymore. I am now surrounded by people - chosen by God - who love and support me.

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