mr. burton, take down that wall

There has been an 11-year tradition in this house where my sons build a wall at the bottom of the basement steps on Christmas eve. They use someone's mattress, and whatever else might be necessary to secure it, and they build it up nice and strong and tall.

Then, on Christmas morning, it Is not uncommon to find one of them sleeping right there, behind the wall. This morning I peeked over the banister to see #4 anxiously awaiting the arrival of Perry and Mindy, coming for the day. He was fidgety and impatient, and even a little crabby. After all, he knew there was a shiny new iPod touch waiting for him somewhere under the tree, and he was ready to do some unwrapping.

Sometimes I build walls. I build them to protect myself or to protect other people FROM me. I regularly check myself to make sure that I am being genuine and open. I mostly do a good job, but every so often I realize that I am accidentally hiding behind a wall.

That strong sense of self-preservation is so instinctive. At 46 I am still learning how to navigate it. After all, there is often a nice shiny surprise waiting.


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13 comments

Ca88andra | December 26, 2010 at 1:26 AM

I know all about building walls and keeping them maintained. I just don't know how to start pulling them down...

Kim | December 26, 2010 at 5:50 AM

Those blasted walls! Sometimes they can be so annoying, but yet so wanted at the same time. I often find myself doing the same thing, but I would have to agree with Ca88andra about pulling them down. I have such a difficult time coming out from behind those walls and then again when I have realized a part of that wall has been destroyed I am pleasantly surprised. I love this post. I didn't think I had much to say, but I guess that is part of wall coming down. Thank you. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you enjoyed talking to your missionary. I know I did.

TechnoBabe | December 26, 2010 at 6:06 AM

Oh yeah, do I know about those walls. Good for you to stay alert and keep the walls down. For me, I became invisible and lost so much time not really being present. I wish you a wonderful new year, and I am so glad I found your blog.

Bossy Betty | December 26, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Love this. Walls can protect us, but more often than not, they separate us from others.

Bre And Drew | December 26, 2010 at 10:23 AM

We used to put mattresses and pillows at the bottom of those stairs too and then slide down in our sleeping bags!!! :)

Kazzy | December 26, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Oh yeah, Bri. These stairs still are acquainted with sleeping bags.

The Way I See It | December 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM

I too, put up walls to protect myself, but have found that I also keep myself from experiencing some wonderful things, so need to consciously tear those walls down.

DeNae | December 26, 2010 at 7:05 PM

My walls are generally erected to keep others safe. It's kinda like bricking up the entrance to the troll cave!

Marianne | December 26, 2010 at 9:57 PM

This nas nothing to do with walls, or maybe it does...

But I wanted to tell you Dennis gave me PANDEMIC for Christmas (after I had looked and looked trying to get it for him!), and we all love it! Even Isaac. Although he was pretty nervous and kept asking, "Could this really happen?"

Anyway, thanks!!

Amber | December 28, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Walls keep us safe and sometimes suffocate us. It's about recognizing boundaries while continuing to let people in. A tricky job.

Rebecca | December 28, 2010 at 5:46 PM

My walls are strong and high, built with solid brick. Yet there are chinks in the mortar, and once I feel safe, I'll blast some holes into it. :)

Erin | December 30, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Thank you for this post about building walls and tearing them down. I am currently (and constantly) working on this myself.

Heidi | January 4, 2011 at 9:56 PM

It's so true.