Author’s Note #1: I’m sure that I’ve posted this quote before, but the sentiment is so true that it deserves another share.
Author’s Note #2: This post is a little more serious than I had intended it to be, but I decided to leave it as-is rather than coax it into a more jolly frame of mind.
The first time that I truly ran up against one of Life’s Brick Walls was in 2011, when my father passed away. “Life’s Brick Walls” is my term for events that just stop you in your tracks. They come in varying sizes of “un-scalability,” but they always seem to involve a loss: of a job, of a relationship, of a loved one. There you are, skipping happily (or at least semi-happily) down the road of life, and all of a sudden, boom: Brick Wall. That path has come to an end, and you weren’t even consulted about it.
So, what do you do? Well, if you’re like me, you just stop and sit there: looking up at the wall, wondering when the Celestial Corps of Engineers will realize that they’ve constructed the thing in the wrong spot (not to mention building without a permit) and come to remove that offensive pile of bricks. But after a while — a long while or a short while, depending on the circumstances — you realize that the wall isn’t going anywhere. This wasn’t a mistake that can be rectified by someone in charge. It’s a permanent structure.
And then there’s only one thing to do: move forward.
How you do that is an individual matter. Maybe you tunnel through, or climb over, or work your way around to the other side. (Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can tear down the wall altogether; but that’s not an easy matter.) For me, it had a lot to do with fortifying my personal goals, cultivating my spiritual life, and trying to reach out into the world, instead of just looking in. I wasn’t always successful, but hey, at least I was inching on down the road.
The above was true in 2011 when I lost my dad, and true again in 2018 when I lost my mom. (Not to say that I have truly “gotten over” either loss. I buried a bit of my heart with each of them, and I don’t think that one actually does “get over” the death of a loved one. You just get a point where you realize that they are gone, and you are here, and it’s up to you to make the most of the time you have left. Which brings me back to moving forward. Anyway…)
In March of 2012, I was down in Orlando with my husband and my in-laws. At that point, about a year after Dad had passed away, I was doing much better but still trying to work my way through the loss. In a small souvenir shop I found a button which pretty much summed up everything I needed to know: Forward is the best possible direction. I’ve carried that little bit of truth with me ever since.
Right now, in September of 2020, we are all dealing with a series of Brick Walls. And the one concept that everyone seems to agree on is that we have to keep moving forward. Each of us, individually and together, have to tunnel through, or climb over, or work our way around. It would be great if we tear down the walls altogether, but given the height, breadth, and depth of some of these walls, that is a very tall order (pardon the pun).
My hope for all of you, dear friends, is that you are finding your own path forward, in whatever way works best for you. As for me, I’m back to my old standby, my Three Musketeers of Forward-ness: fortify my personal goals, cultivate my spiritual life, and try to reach outward to family, friends and community, rather than looking inward. I may not always be successful, but hey, at least I will be inching on down the road.
What about you, my friends? Do you have any advice to share on moving forward?