Brick by Brick

Sometimes I spend too much of my time building up little walls around me to protect me from hurt.

Brick by brick I lay them down. They are things like

cynicism

walking away when I should stay

hiding behind anything that protects my imperfections from peeking through

relationships that fill the loneliness void but do nothing to fill my heart

I don’t know if you are anything like me. But sometimes I peek over the walls and I wonder what life is like on the other side. I wonder what life is like when you risk getting your heart hurt to know that you did everything you could to win his heart. I wonder what life might be like if I stayed even though the protective part of me is whispering to myself to run. I wonder what life might be like if I created healthy boundaries with others, even if it might mean losing them in the process.

CS Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possbricksibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it careful round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable … The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers … of love is Hell.”

Last night as I watched two people vow to love each other, as they danced their first dance and toasted to happiness and hope, I secretly cringed in my seat. I rolled my eyes at no one in particular, I scoffed if only to myself. It’s simply a lie, I thought as I seem to these days. They won’t honour their promise, and they’ll turn to someone new in due time. They won’t honour each other through sickness and in health, until death do us part.

And it hit me in that moment the cynicism I’d let take root in my heart. I’d let it in to protect me from the hurt that those vows and their breaking had done.

So I sat outside, in the brisk fall air, darkness fallen around me, and I wondered at the bricks I’d used to build a wall of protection around me.

And I wondered how to tear the walls down. I’ve spent so much time protecting myself from hurt and risk I’ve long since forgotten what it’s like to jump over the walls and run. Run to the place where hurt might sink me to my knees. Rejection might shake me. Staying might break me.

But in those same places I might find hope. I might find love. I might find peace.

In the broken pieces. In the rejection.

And in the ‘unsafe’ places.