It rears up in front of me, it blocks my pathway, my progress, my escape route, my future. It is not a person but it has a personality for it seems set on preventing me from going any further forward. It is a tangible presence set against me, its purpose to crush, its plan designed for that malignant purpose. It is merciless, compassion is foreign to its nature and it will not move. It will not relinquish its power over me, its power to halt me, to stop me, to cut off my oxygen supply. It is too wide and I cannot go around it. It is too high and I cannot climb over it. It has no footholds or places for my hands to get purchase. It is impossible. It is final.
It is stubborn in its defiance of me, more stubborn than any force I possess myself or can summon. It drains me, the very sight of it, the sheer scale of it, the terrifying impossibility of it. It empties me of all my strength, my reserves of hope, my survival instincts.
It says “Thou shalt not pass”, and I believe it, for I cannot pass.
Night’s smothering cloak falls and the impasse remains. The wall before me remains impregnable yet I cannot go backwards as that is unthinkable and I do not have the energy anyway. I have come so far, so so far, too far to turn back now. Yet I cannot go on without the wall allowing me through. I am utterly at its mercy but it knows no mercy, no compassion. Empathy is alien to its character, is like poison to the black air it breathes. Any feeling of hope or mercy would kill it, just as it kills me. It refuses to allow me through, mocks me, laughs at me, towers over me. I am trapped and I fall to the ground, knees in the dust, demoralized, despairing, exhausted, dying.
I am so exhausted, this stand off rendering every part of me, soul, spirit and body, weary and worn. I curl my body at the base of the wall, along the ground, resting my head in the dust. At some stage, I don’t know when because time has ceased to have meaning, I fall asleep.
In my dream I stand before a wall. My father is beside me, he is holding a colossal hammer, like a hammer only a god could wield. It has a long wooden handle and a huge, impossibly huge length of steel at the top. He has asked me to help him tear down a wall in the garden that has stood there for years. He and my mother would like the landscape to change, they would like the wall brought down because there is a garden beyond it, a beautiful garden with every beautiful kind of flower and tree and streams of clear, fresh water flow there giving life to all that dwells there. The garden is radiant and the sun never seems to set there and the merest glimpse of the garden could set the world free. But the garden and the hope and joy and healing it offers is hidden from the world behind the wall. It has been hidden so long the world has forgotten it is there. My parents would like the world to see it again and behold its glory. But the wall is preventing that beauty from shining through.
My father hands me the hammer that only a god could wield but it is too big and heavy for me and I cannot hold it. So he holds it and tells me to place my hands on the long handle and with my hands grasping it he swings it and the steel end hits the wall with a sound like thunder from the heavens. At first there is not even the smallest indent on the wall’s surface but my father keeps pulling the hammer back and swinging it again and again, my hands resting on the handle the whole time. Then, after an indeterminate time, a tiny piece of the wall falls away. It is all the encouragement we need and we keep swinging and more and more of the wall crumbles until there is enough of a gap in the wall for me to see through and what I see, the glory of the garden beyond, fills my soul and ignites my spirit. This garden is a vision and must be seen and to be seen this wall must come down and we swing the hammer again and again and not until there is a big enough gap for me to climb through do I realize that my father is now standing to the side, smiling at me. I have been swinging the hammer by myself, for how long I do not know but it doesn’t matter. The hammer I could not hold earlier as it was too big and heavy, is the hammer I now hold on my own, having gained strength and courage with my father’s help and having gained motivation and surging adrenalin from the view beyond the wall. I have managed to penetrate the wall and the sun shines through and the whole landscape changes and the world is alive with possibility and hope and the offer of healing.
My father is proud of me and I know my mother will be too and I am so proud myself because I know I have helped clear this path for my parents to view this beautiful garden.
I wake up from my dream.
I remember I had dropped, defeated, to my knees in front of the impenetrable wall and my spirits fall. Despair comes creeping back as I know this wall is too high and wide for me.
I turn around to face it again…and there is no wall. The pathway is clear, the road ahead invites me onwards to where to sun shines and the view fills me with hope and wonder.
I smile, I close my eyes and thank my father and thank my mother and let the hope and light and love and promise come flooding into my soul.
I begin walking into the future, my future.
This is a slightly revised version of a story I wrote quite some time ago about my own experiences. I have faced many such walls in my life in different forms and guises, including a prolonged time of illness. Walls have made me despair and hope has seemed so far away as to be unreachable. I have dreamed many dreams and remembered many times from my life, times of happiness and hope, of laughter and joy. I have remembered obstacles faced and how, with help, I have, frequently against what seemed overwhelming odds, overcome. That is why I am still here, still progressing, still breaking down walls. It is a good thing, a very good thing, to break down walls and to break them down with the help available, whatever form it comes in.
“Hey hey, I saved the world today, Everybody’s happy now the bad thing’s gone away, And everybody’s happy now the good thing’s here to stay, Please let it stay.”
Eurythmics, ‘I saved the world today’.
It is Easter and the wall for me symbolizes the cross and resurrection of Jesus, where death and despair are vanquished and hope and new life, eternal life and ultimate healing are offered to all.
This is why I can say, “Abba, Father.”
This is the reason for my survival and eternal hope.
Thanks for reading 🙂