It rears up in front of me, it blocks my pathway, my progress. Although it is not a person, it has a personality for it seems set on preventing me from going any further, a tangible presence set against me. It will not move, will not relinquish its power over me, its power to halt me. I cannot go around it, cannot climb over it, for it is too high, infinitely high, and it has no footholds or places for my hands to get purchase.
It is stubborn, more stubborn than any force I possess myself or can summon. It drains me, the very sight of it, the sheer scale of it, the terrifying impossibility of it, empties me of all my strength, my reserves of hope, my survival instincts.
Thou shalt not pass…it says, and I believe it, for I cannot pass.
Night falls and the impasse remains, the wall before me is impregnable, yet I cannot go backwards as that is unthinkable and I do not have the energy anyway and I have come so far, so so far, too far to turn back now. Yet I cannot go on without the wall allowing me through and it refuses to allow me through, mocks me, laughs at me, towers over me. I am trapped and I fall to the ground, knees in the dust, demoralised, despairing, exhausted.
So exhausted, this stand off rendering every part of me, soul, spirit and body, weary and worn. I curl my body at the base of the wall, along the ground, resting my head in the dust. At some stage, I don’t know when because time has ceased to have meaning, I fall asleep.
In my dream I stand before a wall. My father is beside me, he is holding a colossal hammer. It has a long wooden handle and a huge, impossibly huge length of steel at the top. He has asked me to help him tear down the wall in the garden that has stood there for years. He and my mother would like the landscape to change, they would like the wall brought down because there is a garden beyond it, a beautiful garden that is hidden from the world and they would like the world to see it and behold its glory. But the wall is preventing that beauty from shining through.
My father hands me the hammer but it is too big and heavy for me and I cannot hold it. So he holds it, and tells me to place my hands on the long handle and with my hands grasping it he swings it and the steel end hits the wall with a sound like thunder from the hand of God. At first there is not even the smallest indent on the wall’s surface, but my father keeps pulling the hammer back and swinging it again and again, my hands resting on the handle the whole time. Then, after an indeterminate time, a tiny piece of the wall falls away. It is all the encouragement we need and we keep swinging and more and more of the wall crumbles until there is enough of a gap in the wall for me to see through and what I see, the glory of the garden beyond, fills my soul and ignites my spirit. This garden is a vision and must be seen and to be seen this wall must come down and we swing the hammer again and again and not until there is a big enough gap for me to climb through do I realise that my father is now standing to the side, smiling at me, and I have been swinging the hammer by myself, for how long I do not know but it doesn’t matter. The hammer I could not hold earlier as it was too big and heavy, is the hammer I now hold on my own, having gained strength and courage with my father’s help and gaining motivation and adrenalin from the view from beyond the wall. I have managed to penetrate the wall myself.
My father is proud of me and I know my mother will be too and I am so proud myself because I know I have helped clear this path for my parents to view this beautiful garden.
I wake up. I remember I lay down in front of the impenetrable wall and my spirits fall. Despair comes creeping back as I know this wall is too high and wide for me.
I turn around to face it again…and there is no wall. The pathway is clear, the road ahead invites me onwards.
I smile, I close my eyes and thank my father and thank my mother and let the hope and light and love and vision come flooding into my soul.
I begin walking into the future, my future.
(I have faced many such walls in my life, most recently through a prolonged time of illness. Walls have made me despair and hope has seemed so far away as to be unreachable. I have dreamed many dreams and remembered many times from my life, times of happiness and hope, of laughter and joy. I have remembered obstacles faced and how, with help, I have, frequently against what seemed overwhelming odds, overcome. That is why I am still here, still progressing, still breaking down walls.)
“Hey hey, I saved the world today, Everybody’s happy now the bad things gone away, And everybody’s happy now the good things here to stay, Please let it stay.” Eurythmics, ‘I saved the world today’.
Thanks for reading.