21 May

Walls. They are a good thing. They are there to hold something up. A ceiling. A roof. Precious pictures. They provide a comfortable boundary, a form of protection. If we were plunked down into a place that was pitch black, our instinct would be to reach out. Find the walls. That would be an indication of where we might be. How large is the black space we are in? Reaching out and finding a wall would begin to provide comfort, answers, direction. So walls are a good thing.

As a parent, I want to be a wall for my children. I want to hold them up.  I want to provide solid boundaries. When they are uncertain or in the dark, I want them to reach for me and find comfort in knowing that I am there, standing firm. Providing direction. Answers. That is what a good parent aspires to achieve. Even as an adult, I still look to my parents to be my wall. We all have weak moments, trying times, and it is comforting to be able to still count on not only my parents, but my whole family, to hold me up.

Good friends do the same thing. I have learned over the years that biology does not necessarily make a family and that friends can also be counted as family. A favorite Richard Bach quote comes to mind to sum up my definition of family: “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” I love that!  So we can depend on our friends to be our wall. And we should be theirs. Lift them up. Allow them to hold us up. These become the layers of our wall.

How do the layers get applied to a wall? Slowly, allowing each layer to become a firm foundation to the next, is a good way to build a solid wall. A base upon which a new layer could be applied, accepted, hardened. Ready to accept the next layer. So its safe to say that a trusted wall can be built over a long period of time. It can’t be rushed. Time, patience, trust…the tools of good construction some might say. So walls are a good thing. Or are they?

There can be a flip side. They can also be a barrier. Walls can seal or entomb. Shut off and divide. Hold back. Unfortunately some folks better fit this metaphorical description of a wall. Which is sad. These are the walls, the people, that we need to keep at arms length. They divide, and that is the last thing anyone should want. We have all run into people and relationships that have been this type of wall. And sometimes it takes us some time to realize what type of wall a person or relationship provides. We might think that a person is there to lift us up. Support us. Only to find out later that they are the “other” type of wall.  That is not good for overall wellness and a healthy spirit.   So what do you do then?

I have had both types of walls in my life over the years, and who can’t say that? I have learned to cherish, value, and take care of my good walls. That is my firm foundation.  And I have made it a priority in my life to be a good wall to my family (a.k.a. friends!). That takes time, experience, patience. But when we run into a bad wall, and we all do, is it time to turn and run? Well, that might be the first instinct, but I say no. Let it become another layer to the wall.

The old saying “You can’t go around it, you can’t go under it, so you must go over it” comes to mind. Going over a “bad” wall becomes another firm layer if we let it. We overcome it. We conquer it. And we allow it to become another layer to the foundation. And as a parent, we can teach our children how to use adversity to build a layer. Learning comes in many forms. Going over the wall also means to learn how to put more good walls in our life. Get over the bad ones, build more, layer more, with good ones. Become a better wall ourselves. We strengthen. We learn. We use the good the bad and the ugly. And we move on. Stronger. Better. Another layer for our wall. I know what kind of wall I am, what kind of wall I strive to be.  My foundation is very strong, and that contributes to my wholeness.  My wellness.  My vitality.  What kind of wall are you?


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