Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Walls...Prisons of our own Making

I have been witnessing and experiencing walls again lately.... my own, and those of others. Curiously enough, I find those two things go hand in hand. When the walls of others grab my attention, and start to annoy me, it's time to start focusing on what's being built around me.

Walls are fascinating obstacles to me. Erected to protect our Selves from perceived threats, they can quickly become a barrier to true relationships. Meant to contain our vulnerabilities, they easily become prisons to our hearts. Established to block out pain and suffering, they surround us in darkness, blocking out only the light.

I have seen walls elaborately created, and I have seen them more simply "functional" and crass. Mine is somewhere in the middle... and in various stages of construction and deconstruction.

When I originally built my wall, I didn't have the "God-connect" - the faith - that I do today. I was very Self-reliant: My way. My timing. My plans. I felt that I needed to protect my Self from everything that got in the way of My purpose. So, I tried.... really hard. It was exhausting and very, very isolating.

Fortunately, through the years - with much help of many people sent into my life at just the right time -I have been able to disassemble some of the most stifling parts. For not only did my wall keep others from intruding, it kept me from participating in my own life. In the same way I tried to prevent others from stifling me, I stifled myself.

Now, when I see - and bump into - walls of others, it brings me right back to the days when I was struggling behind my own wall. Looking back, I can see the people who stood outside, quietly waiting for an opportunity: to speak the truth, to toss a flower, or to extend a hand. Standing beside me, loving me, and slowly earning my trust.

There are some days when I am patient, able to sit quietly, gently speak, toss a flower or extend a hand. And then, there are other days when I just want to pound on them and say "DON'T YOU SEE? This is NOT HELPING!!"

There have been times in the past, where I have done exactly that. Times when I have knocked so loudly, the stones rattled. It didn't help. Not one bit. It wasn't loving, and it didn't earn trust.

Yet there are still days when I feel that way. I want to shake and shout, "I KNOW you've been hurt....", "I KNOW you've been abandoned....", "I KNOW you're scared". "COME OUT!" "RISK IT!!"

Instead I cry out to God, "TELL me... SHOW me... what do I do...?" This past fall, when I did just that, I was reminded again of the book: The Wall: a parable.

I'd read it in years past... but in the present reading, I see clearly the God-imagery. Those willing to speak the truth in ways that it can be heard. Those willing to stand quietly by. Those willing to toss a flower of hope. Lend a hand of encouragement. Simply love. All of them waiting for the direction of His timing.

I am reminded again, of how God continues to bring people into my life that do all of these things for me....and for my wall. To continue the dismantling process. To help identify those stones that still trip me up, and point me in the right direction.

He continues to send people I can discuss with, pray with, laugh with, cry with.... Those who encourage me to stand quietly, and speak gently, rather than shake wildly and confront in a full-fledged assault.

And, He sends those with walls for me to practice. Standing patiently. Speaking gently. Waiting for His words and His timing.

Thank you for those You have sent to me.

May I listen. May I follow Your lead.

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