Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bring on the Walls

I was having a bit of a chat with my new ministry colleague about what we do when we hit a wall. I'm not really sure that an ample theology of wall exists within the church. The problem is, I reckon, that most people choose the metaphor of hitting it. Which is not the way I deal with walls, by and large. The couple of times I tried, it left scars.

Marathon runners speak of 'the wall'. For them it is a description of something psychological. Your mind tells you to stop but your body isn't finished with it yet. I know a bit about this. Some years ago I was told by a neurosurgeon that my chronic back pain would decrease if I exercised. Trouble was, exercise really hurt. I was slowly and gently introduced to the psychological idea that pain, real as it was, had ceased to be an indication of something wrong. I was causing myself no further damage when I exercised and the pain was unnecessary. I had to retrain my body to keep going even though it hurt. Took about 18 months but it worked. Hardest thing I ever did. No question.

Real walls, without doors, have to be climbed or circumnavigated but remember, you should be able to see them coming. Prepare yourself for any walls with appropriate equipment.

Metaphorical and psychological walls require a whole different set of techniques. You can seek a hidden door. Jump them. Blow them up. Walk though them. Dig under them. Leave them for another day. Give them to somebody else. Attach them to a balloon and float them away. Attach yourself to a balloon and float over. Get a really big ladder out of your shoe. Join with the Roadrunner (beep beep) and draw a hole in it. Jump through and erase the hole as Wily Coyote leaps. Fun, isn't it? As the great Dan Reed said, 'To daydream properly takes immeasurable amounts of imaginary time.' The decision is yours.

The problem with walls is that they aren't walls. They are obstacles which you have deemed insurmountable. It isn't the worst advice to ignore them.

Got too many things in your head? Put some down for a bit. Diary them for next week and forget about them.

Got a thing coming up you don't know how to deal with. Get input. Talk it over. Break it down into smaller bits. If you gotta eat a slug you want that critter thin-sliced.

Got too many actual jobs? Renegotiate some deadlines.

Wondering about your entire sense of self-worth and ability? That kid needs therapy. And probably not from the person who gave you the deadlines or relies on you hitting them.

What sort of mental ability does it take to willingly go to your death by crucifixion? I'm not going to get into theories of atonement or a quest for the historical Jesus - I want this to be useful to more than the faith community. I simply ask if you could go that way knowing you could avoid it and knowing that no-one would ever know that you did, or criticise you for it. From where does that sort of inner strength come?

Walls. Time to come tumblin' down.

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