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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.

  1. May 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Cool homily 🙂

    it can be a scary thing – living in a house with no ‘visible’ means of support (walls)

    so not easy for us humans of little faith 😉


    • May 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm

      mmmmm.. I like grits! Oh wait.. you said homily.. not hominy. My bad. 🙂

      We all have our walls to build, don’t we? Hopefully we experience those times when we get a bit of help knocking them down.

      You know what is weighing on me now? There are some blocks called ‘expectation’ that are so hard to knock down because we don’t want to let somebody else down. Or maybe we just don’t want people to see that we are human behind our walls.

      • May 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

        i’m mostly aussie – we don’t know hominy from mushed up corn! 😉

        Yeah – those expectation blocks are the densest, heaviest ones, i think.

        i don’t have many answers for those blocks and the walls we make from ’em – other than to always try to not have any lying around.

        So not easy though 😦

        Sometimes we replace our expectations of what we think we expect from us, or what others want from us, with expectations of what we think He has of us.

        That’s Heavy!

        Speaking of heavy – i know of a couple of blog-bud’s i’ve found who are experiencing a bit of wall bashing lately – and it’s not something they are enjoying or would have hoped for in the slightest.

        it’s just necessary is all.

        Good Luck with the renovations 😉


  2. May 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Great story and app Tony. Oh I wish I could help people break down walls that are keeping them from good fellowship with others and with God. ‘Course that means I have to tear mine down also.

    • May 21, 2009 at 8:59 am

      i need to remind myself that before i can help take the spec out of my brother’s eye i have to first remove the ‘beam’ from my own 😉

      it’s all too easy, i find, to give in to the temptation to rush in ‘blindly’ 8)


      • May 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm

        you guys are hitting on great points. Help should always be applied with compassion…. I think that keeps us from rushing in foolhardily.

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