At the end of the month, I rebuild the wall.
And at the end of that same month, a tornado comes and wipes away all my progress.
At the end of the next month, I rebuild the wall again.
And at the end of that same month, a tsunami comes and wipes away all my progress.
At the end of the third month, I rebuild the wall again.
And at the end of the third month, an earthquake rumbles and wipes away all my progress.
And it’s been going on like this. On like this.
Every month I begin a winner, and I end a failure.
And now I’m tired. I am exhausted. I am worn-out and weakened.
My eyes are fuzzy, I fall back from exhaustion. Sit down on the floor.
I’m covered in dust and grime and filth. My arms are sore beyond measure.
My hands numb. My shoulders, like a brick. My head falls. My eyes feel cemented to the ground below. I slowly wipe my brow.
I am alone.
And the wall is nowhere near finished. All progress wiped away as soon as it’s made.
I can’t do this anymore, I think. I can’t. Not alone. No, not alone.
It’s time to give up, I think. This is no longer worth it. There’s too much at stake now. There’s too much to rebuild, and too much working against me. Time is running out, and it’s running out quickly.
I’m giving up. I can’t do this alone anymore. No, not anymore. No, not alone anymore.
I begin to cry, and the tears are soiled with dry cement, and just as I’m about to fall back, and lie down, and cry out that I can’t do it alone anymore, and that I need help, a hand falls on my shoulder.
I look up. I see a hand gesturing for me to get up.
I shake my head.
The hand insists.
I nod, but I admit, out loud, that I can no longer go on like this alone.
There is a silence.
There are two hands now.
One goes underneath one arm, the other goes underneath the other arm, and together, they lift me up.
They bring me to the wall, and I fall before it.
There, I see just a a few levels of the wall that I’ve set in place. The wall is much more than just a brick now, but it’s so much less than a wall.
I cover my face in shame. I admit, out loud, again, that I can no longer do it all alone. There is nothing else that I can conceivably do on my own to finally rebuild again.
But just as I am about to fall back again, the hands lift me.
I am standing now, and as I stand, the others rebuild for me. They place the bricks on top of one another, stick them together with the cement, and one by one, the wall rises without my effort.
And, in that moment, I realize that they are not rebuilding the wall for me. They are rebuilding the wall with me.
They were always rebuilding with me, it’s just that, through all my hard work, I never rested, I never called on them, I never gave them a chance to come to my aid.
But as soon as I did, they came. And I wasn’t alone anymore. And the wall wasn’t just mine anymore.
In truth, it never was, and part of the difficulty was that I thought it was.
As the others rebuild the wall and I look on, I think of how sad we all are: we are such sad creatures to think we must rebuild walls alone.
When–I think–when will we have the courage to finally see that what we rebuild is not just for “me,” but for “we.”
“I’m giving up on doing this alone now
cause I’ve failed and I’m ready to be shown how
He’s told me the way and I’m trying to get here
and this life sentence that I’m serving
I admit that I’m every bit deserving
but the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair…
I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake
I’ve gotta get outta here
And I’m begging you, I’m begging you, I’m begging
You to be my escape.”
– from Be My Escape by Relient K
Editor’s note: this post originally ended with the song “Be My Escape” by Relient K
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