On the eve of the inauguration of a President who wants to build walls, some thoughts.
History is replete with the walls that man has made.
There are both physical and symbolic walls, designed to keep some people in and others out, to define territory, to intimidate, to impress, to retain power.
And then, there are the other walls.
The wall of ignorance which can be the most enclosing of all walls, for only someone with tremendous imagination and faith can recognize that there is anything beyond, and only someone with formidable will can find the courage to fight his or her way over it.
There is the wall of intolerance, which is ignorance by choice. Those who choose to live behind this wall will never comprehend the true meaning of life. There are no new ideas to stretch the brain, no new discoveries to stimulate the taste, no variety to add dimension to the circle of friends. Behind this wall, we grow rigid and as gray as the wall itself.
There are the prickly heights of the wall of pride, which stands in the way of connection. This is a defensive wall, designed to keep those who would know us or help us. or pity us, apart.
There is the wall of vanity which demands that time stand still. Behind this wall, we live without grace,so determined to refuse the reality of aging, we become caricatures of ourselves.
There are many walls built from fear, each one different and yet all the same. Fear of failure, which keeps us from trying.
Fear of being hurt, which keeps us from loving.
Fear of being obligated, which makes it impossible to trust.
Fear of criticism, a barrier to achievement.
Fear of offending, which makes us hypocrites.
There is the wall of loneliness, a wall we build ourselves, when we wait for someone else to make the first move, to speak the first word. Behind this wall, we cannot make new friends or mend old quarrels.
The bleakest wall of all is constructed of bitterness for it warps the soul. Every time we dwell on the past and blame others for our failures and disappointments we add another brick.
There is the wall of unhappiness which grows thick and forbidding when we let unhappiness become a habit, when we refuse to recognize that we are responsible for the quality of our own lives.
There is the wall of ingratitude. Wiithin this territory we do not recognize contentment, love, or friendship, for we are always seeking more.
There is the wall of vengeance which is an invitation to disaster, for which of us is pure enough to judge, is close enough to God to usurp his role?
And then, there is the one wall that matters, the wall we build to protect our vulnerability to shut out the cynics and the pessimists and the destroyers. Behind this wall, we can live a loving, peaceful, happy and fulfilling live.
That wall, no President can build for us.