During my childhood years, there was a story my mom loved reminding me to read. From a children’s book, it was built around the experience of two young boys walking along a path and finding a wall in their way. How they worked around that obstacle changed their view of life and helped them become the scientists that facilitated the landing on the moon.
I have no reason to believe the story was representative of actual facts. I never bothered to go back and fact check. I was barely six at the time. However, that story left a profound mark on my academic career. Along the way, I even wrote a poem around the memory of that story during times of challenges at school. The memory of that story has helped me over come many setbacks in life.
Today, nearly a lifetime later, the ideas from the story continues to follow me. It’s providing inspiration and I hope to one day use bits of it to inspire my own children to continue their path of discovery. As for this post, time to create something new that might just be of encouragement to someone one reading this.
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Editorial Note: One of the first poetic attempts for the blog… details at the end
The Brick Wall
The plan was already set in motion. The stars had aligned. The journey had it’s usual bumps and bruises, but now was time for the big payout.
The classes and long study nights had set the degree in place, it was only a matter of landing that promotion… the big payday.
Dreams all coming true, friends and family tooting your horn and patting you on your back, it was pretty much the ideal fairytale.
The only things left to check off the list was the house, the gold watch, and seeing the children launch into their own.
Then, it all went wrong.
A brick wall showed up. Blocking the view of paradise. Keeping out the hope and thrill of advancing in life. The shadow cast by the wall relegating optimism to the dark corners of despair and fear.
No matter how high one jumped, no matter what one did, as far as one could see to the left or right, the wall was there laughing insensitively at the chaos it was creating.
The path was no longer straight. The going just got tough. Reality was biting, and all one could do was huddle against the cold harsh wall trying not to sob at dreams robbed.
To those on the other side, they tried to sympathize, but they couldn’t empathize as their path was clear and sunny while yours was dark and cold.
Tools to break through was not available, calls for help only echoed back, hit the brakes was all one could do, less a shattered face or shoulder the result of stubborn head long crashes.
Without a blueprint or guide, the only way past would require serious outside the box thinking. With only the past as certainty, the future blocked, the present light fading fast, it was only two choices left. For the third made no sense at all.
Go back was what many would have recommended. Start over. Give up on the dream. Find another path.
Go forward, but how, it’s a massive brick wall.
Give up. Not an option, as old father time never slowed his march.
Too many a dream crushed by the roadblocks of life, many have turned back to reinvent the wheel only to feel as if fate and destiny conspired to bring them back to that very same brick wall on the path to happiness.
Some, luckily, found their correct back by turning back, for they had ventured where they shouldn’t have and the wall was more like a savior. But alas, this is not the case here.
But to go forward, how? Digging with stubby nails and raw fingers only proves the insanity of limited beliefs. Left or right turns towards an infinite end only frustrates the heart that knows the real goal is on the other side.
Remembering that childhood story of a wall along the path, the kids throwing their caps over the wall, it was time to grow through the problem at hand.
In one manner of speaking, one can build a ramp and walk up over the wall, one can build a slingshot and propel oneself over the wall, even vines can be used to combine branches and ladder up the wall.
There is no set convention of how to clear a wall and go forward. Each wall is as unique as each person it’s blocking. The seat of the solution is found in the abundance of thought that combines experience with creative innovations… all connected outside the paradigm of comfort… requiring effort.
It’s not for the weak or fearful, it’s the work of those who dare move even while in fear. It’s for those who get that this too shall pass. This may never make sense, but as long as one is alive, there is hope to get to the other side.
Adapt. Pivot. Grow. Experiment. Learn. There is still light… but even through the night, keep hope alive as one strives to make it through.
It may take a day or two, even a decade or two, but in time, one will find a way past the wall. Even if it’s at the hand of an unexpected earthquake that topples the brick wall on your path, take it and cross onward.
This takes nothing away from actual limits that can’t be beat, such as death or physical limitations that can’t be adjusted for. Those are boundaries, much like gravity, that has to be dealt with. Those aren’t brick walls, even when dressed to look like brick walls.
No. Brick walls are those obstacles that spring up and make the journey all the more challenging. A means of weeding out those who give up too fast while enhancing the sensation of victory for those who make it over.
In the end, every stage of life has it’s own set of walls. A baby has to figure how to climb stairs, a teen has to figure how to balance love and homework. Adults have to deal with all manners of obstacles. Those who stop along the way never fully get the joys of discovery of the patch of green pasture waiting on the other side.
Keep in mind, the skills learned from crossing smaller walls will inform the ideas for crossing other bigger walls. Just don’t assume each wall is the same set of skills, as each wall is unique. Take the experience of successfully crossing in the past to encourage you to pass this wall on your path.
When the journey is all said and done, and one looks back, all these various walls will make sense. They will look like the various steps along the winding staircase one needed to climb to get through the voyage of life. The view is so much better at the top, when contentment and satisfaction is in the mix of course.
Here’s the closing tip… buy the glasses of discernment. They will bring clarity and focus to what walls to cross and what fences not to saddle. Not all green grass is actually good healthy green grass. But one will not know that if they stay frozen in fear in the shadows of a brick wall that showed up along the path of life.
The duo of posts about this brick wall lives in the upcoming links. Just click on the image or title to be taken to the post.
- Caps Thrown over a Wall - Certain stories in childhood leave impressions for a life time. The mindset from one particular story is coming back to me as I set up for 2018. Rise up to the challenges of life. Challenge your challenges. Figure it out. The story of a boy throwing his cap over a wall still motivate me several decade later
- The Brick Wall - Taking a story from childhood and remixing it into the blog's original go at poetry Life lessons on having the right mindset for success
Editorial Note: This post was originally shared on the project side of the site on December 8, 2017. It’s been moved to the blog as part of the 2018 site audit. Links updated. The poetic efforts have since improved. In a coming post, there will be details on how to see all the various iterations that poetry is taking on this blog.