Throughout history, people have built walls to ensure their safety and security. We’ve built homes to protect us from the elements; walls around our cities to keep invaders out; walls to jail individuals we believe should not live freely among us.
Yet history also clearly shows us that the walls we build are always- ALWAYS!- temporary. They can be breached with some determination: over, under, around and through; destroyed by man; erased by nature. Think about the earthquakes and hurricanes which have destroyed our homes, our cities. Consider the intruders who invade our locked homes, and prisoners who have bribed or killed their way out of jail. Remember the demise of ancient fortresses, and the damage done to strongholds like the Alamo. And who can forget the dismantling of the Berlin Wall? Nor can we ignore the fate of the Great Wall of China, which has become a tourist attraction instead of a protective barrier.
Given that the walls we build are temporary, it seems obvious those structures offer only temporary protection also. I suggest they often function as a false sense of security. Does that mean we shouldn’t continue to build our homes or fences? No, it simply means we should not depend exclusively upon them to keep us safe.
Remember: as human beings, we tell ourselves stories. [See my blog entitled “The Lie”] Some of these inner dialogues are based in fact, some are wishful thinking, and some are lies. We use our stories to address our concerns, fears and anxieties. Envisioning the numerous threats we face daily, we try to make sense of how and why they exist, and how they can affect us and our loved ones. Then we attempt to identify solutions that may keep us safe and content. But all the while we are considering our concerns and solutions to them, we must carefully fact-check ourselves. We must examine the premises upon which we base our concerns and look closely at what we hope to achieve with the solutions we devise. Then before we choose to act, we must also try to imagine the consequences of our actions. From past experience, we all know some of those consequences may be unintended and unpredictable!
As we build our walls of wood, stone, mortar and steel, we must acknowledge them to be temporary and incomplete solutions to assuaging our concerns, our fears. They are so because we have only temporarily and incompletely defined our issues! Our issues are within US as humans, and therefore the solutions can only come from within. Our strength, our sense of security, lie not in the walls we build but in the holiness of our humanity. We must embrace it!