Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Walling In or Walling Out

Jalaleddin (don't ask me if that's spelled right) Rumi once said, "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." I wonder if that's true. Is it possible that it's hard to experience love just because you've built up a resistance against it? And what happens if you do find those barriers? Can you change them, get rid of them?
The other day I was at my Grandma's house, and she has a path behind the barn that leads out to the field. I used to go on walks behind there when I was younger. Last summer, I would go running on the path through the field. On Sunday, I went sprinting through the grass, running as fast as I possibly could, kicking my flip flops off because they just slowed me down. I just left them there and kept running until I couldn't possibly go any further. But I still didn't feel like I had ran enough. So I ran again, and I stopped only because the grass ended, leaving me at a place where the cornfield met the dirt path. I could have run up the dirt hill, but it was too muddy. So I just lay in the grass, catching my breath from sprinting.
I wonder if that is the running away, the barrier. Is that action me running away (in the figurative sense)? Everyone says how bad it is to run away from things, so my head always says "stop running away, Jess." I wrote in that poem that being covered only comes from after being exposed to the sun. Vulnerable. But what does that mean?
Even if you recognize in yourself the areas where you put up walls, can you knock them down? Can someone else knock them down? I guess only God can, really. Do you really have to know about the walls before they come down?

And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.

-Robert Frost

What I'm finding is that God doesn't like us to hold onto our safety too closely. I've always craved stability and safety and comfort. But God wants us to give our money freely, not worrying whether we will have enough for ourselves. So maybe He wants us to stop building walls and risk. It reminds us that He is the only constant. And if I put up walls, I start thinking that I'm protecting myself, taking care of myself. And that's not the case. God is the only one who takes care of me.

God speak truth to the walls we've relied on instead of You.

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