Constructing Leftover Walls
My parents had purchased a small house in a tiny little farming community when I was less than 5 years old. The house was too small for the 6 of us so my dad began renovations that included building on to the existing structure. I remember one particular afternoon that my dad was working on the new addition like it was yesterday.
My father had been busy cutting lumber, nailing 2x4s together, and raising walls all morning. Of course he had to contend with 4 boys running around while he was attempting to get some work done. We loved the busyness of tools cutting and hammering wood into something that would be part of our new house.
At some point in the early afternoon, my father took a break from his labors and my mother joined us to just sit and dream. All of the work that my father had completed that morning had left a lot of little blocks of wood leftover from the lumber that had to be shortened in order to be fitted to its new function. Dad started building a block wall around my oldest brother from these leftovers. My brother, Randy, couldn’t have been more than 3 feet tall at the time and it didn’t take long for him to help dad stack blocks all around himself that equaled his height while standing. Dad had to put the last few courses on because Randy could no longer reach for more blocks and he didn’t want to risk knocking over their work.
While we had been resting and watching them build the wall, clouds had moved in and it looked like it was going to storm. Very close to the time that dad finished placing the last block in its place, the first fat drops of a summer thunderstorm started falling. Fun time was over. We had to head indoors before we were dumped on in earnest – this was going to be a gully washer. Our leisurely walk to the door became a sprint when the skies let loose.
It wasn’t but a few seconds of running indoors that an important question was raised.
Where is Randy?
Dad had to go back out into the storm in order to get my older brother who had remained behind standing inside the block wall that had been made of leftovers. When they both returned soaking wet, dad asked this question;
Why didn’t you follow us inside when it started raining?
My brother’s response was simple.
I didn’t want to break the wall that we had built.
You know, we do that all the time in our lives, don’t we? We construct walls around ourselves with all the things leftover. Sometimes its pain or anger that we want to hold onto and other times its our sense of entitlement – that we deserved something different than what life dealt us. Maybe its a memory from our pasts or a hope that we have given up on. No matter what IT is, it is still just a leftover piece of our lives.
And there we are, grabbing piece after leftover piece and stacking them into some form of safety wall. Even when the storms come we are too afraid to break down what we have built in order to seek the kind of shelter that the father has for us. Maybe we confuse ourselves into thinking that He helped us build that wall so that is where we are supposed to be.
You know the great thing though? He is willing to come into your storm and help you knock some walls down.