Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Respite Wednesday

Build Bridges, Not Walls

The Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet

My dicey upbringing taught me how to build a solid wall – a fortress for my feelings, vulnerabilities, and dreams. This hermetic world sustained me, but left me feeling lonely.

Eventually I built a doorway and in due time hurt entered my little world – just as I had feared. So, I locked the doorway and hid. While in hiding, I developed a surrogate to meet and greet the world. She flourished, prospered, WOWed, and succeeded with her skill and accomplishments – yet, she remained aloof and unknown by heart. In a crowd she sparkled, but at day’s end she returned and shut the door with an isolated clang that echoed throughout the room until a new day brought a new performance.

The longings of a lonely heart grow in intensity as dreams reach out for a true heart-to-heart touch. The fears ward off risk taking until loneliness grows menacing and the empty heart cries out in anguish, thinking no one can hear. But God hears . . .

Prayers avail. A seeking heart yearns and opens the doorway in hopes of finding that elusive connection despite past failure. Tentative trust extends a hand to one outstretched. Warmth delivers hope that this small spark may ignite love. “Hurt may happen!’ screams the jailer. The hurt one ignores the cry in order to savor the moments of warmth, tucking them into the memory chest before they fade away . . . like all the rest. This storehouse of scattered moments must serve to nourish the starving heart in days to come, thus it gathers hungrily to the last second.

Shock waves reverberate throughout the dungeon in the absence of the expected JOLT of pain. Where is the pain that precedes parting? It never arrives. Instead, a soft embrace and an invitation for more of the same set the imprisoned one on a mission to widen the doorway. In time windows fill the formerly solid walls, the door becomes discarded, and finally the wall comes apart piece by piece in eagerness to build a bridge. Accident and injury accompany the un/building process, but a bruise attained innocently in the fresh air can never leave a brutal scar.

Many long years have passed since I opened the door and took a risk to love. I have stumbled, gotten slivers, hit my thumb with a hammer, and received numerous glancing blows from those working alongside me during this project called relationship, but I have no regrets about cracking open that heavy door all those years ago.

Of late, I dipped down into a hollow of sorrow along life’s pathway. The temptation to shut the door and hide crashed over me like high tide. I contemplated sealing off (especially the blog) or worse yet, donning a mask and blogging of frivolities. Both options paled at the prospect of honestly shedding a tear for all to see and reaching out my hand for encouragement. I chose well . . .

Your loving words and gifts of prayer have buoyed my in ways you may never know. I thank you. I also know the pure joy in purpose I have experienced as I lift each of you to the Lord at various times in various circumstances. I pray this prayer bond blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

In Beauty for Ashes Joyce Meyer writes: “I have learned to build bridges instead of walls.” (214) Initially, I thought she referred to the breaking down of relational barriers and the re-establishment of a relationship severed, but she continues:

Make a decision to tear down your walls and build bridges.
There are many, many people who are lost in their messes
And need someone to go before them and show them the way.
Why not be the person for them?
Walls or bridges? The choice is yours.
(Beauty for Ashes, 214)

I always hesitate to draw the lace aside and offer a glimpse at the heart of my life, but each time I do it I receive word of thanks (often anonymously) for sharing. So, I put away the pretty masks and let the real joy shine forth through the tears as I say, “thank you for the prayers," while I dance the joyful dance of bridge-building and friendship-making and heart-growing. My painful issues did not fade when I reached out asking for prayer, but the fear of loneliness did turn tail and run with the first email affirming that one of you carried a prayer heavenward for me without knowing the necessarily private details. I hurt . . . you helped.

. . . Pray one for another,
That ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
Availeth much.
(James 5:16)

Today I pray that any one of my precious readers who needs the uplift of prayer will walk across this bridge and enter the pool of prayer that refreshed me so these past few days.

I came across this quote yesterday and it made me smile for its simple, yet profound truth:

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil.
If they would only expend the same amount of energy
Loving their fellow men,
The devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.
~~ Helen Keller ~~


Karen said...

Oh, Debbie. I've found that my virtual friends are sometimes the very best to help when you're down about something and that I shouldn't hide much at all from them. I'm so glad you've come through with the prayers of friends holding you up. I'm always here, on my knees anyway.

Elizabeth said...

I'm sorry it's been so long since I visited.. It sounds like you are bearing burdens, I will say a prayer for you today and I'm glad I got a chance to catch up with you even just a bit!!!

sukipoet said...

Hi Debbie. A beautifully told story or your self growth and movements through life. I think you will know from the inside when to open and when to hold things within as there are times to sit quietly with sadness and not share, as you know. As an introvert myself, I find that going within sometimes is a good way to heal and rest and accept. Then I can go out again and speak of my sorrow or not,as I choose.

I light a candle for you to light your way over the bridge. I will come too. Thanks, Debbie.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

You explained me very well of course the details are different but the emotions and actions are very much alike... you have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself and I am so thankful that you choose to share it!
Hugs and prayers

farmlady said...

I think that those who choose to find ways to become better human beings and face the fears of their lives, will always be rewarded with acceptance and lovingkindness. God knows how hard you try and gives you strength to continue on.

Thank you for letting us know how truly human you are.

MARIA said...

Thank you so much Debbie for sharing your story. It is very inspiring. What a pitty that my English is so poor, I cannot explain my thoughts.
"Bild Bridges, Not Walls" - very true words.
And I love Claude Monet's painting.

God bless you and your words!

noble pig said...

You are an inspiration, you have faced so many things, but remain so positive. Your thoughts are amazing uplifters and thank you for keeping us in your heart.

Naturegirl said...

Debbie so beautifully written!
We must learn to trust the small light we are given and to value the light that we can shed into the lives of those around us and within our viewing blogging friends.I feel that is not by chance that I have met you and light..hugs NG

BTW: Unbelievable!!I have post Monet's pond and photos of his garden today!

imbeingheldhostage said...

fantastic closing quote. I brought a friend by and we walked in your garden and looked longingly at your cottage. She's starting her own blog, so I am sure she'll be back sometime soon.

My prayers are being offered up for you too!

FancyHorse said...

I missed seeing the post you refer to, but I'll find it. Meanwhile, I want to say what a brave woman you are to let others see into your heart, and how inspiring this post is. I know those walls well.

Becky said...

Everything that can be said has been said. Hugs and prayers to you my friend.

Anonymous said...

Grace and peace to you Debbie.
Thank you for sharing a story so like my own in it's unfolding. Late in life my lock fell away and my soulmate entered and I gradually dropped my defenses. Through his love I found the world not quite so wretched as I had believed. You are entered in my prayer journal - prayers do reach out and touch us no matter whether we know the "prayee". And I thank you for the tea, sympathy and beautiful music. Your blog is one of my favorite internet readings.