We all build internal sea walls to keep at bay the sadnesses of life and the often overwhelming forces within our minds. In whatever way we do this—through love, work, family, faith, friends, denial, alcohol, drugs, or medication—we build these walls, stone by stone, over a lifetime. One of the most difficult problems is to construct these barriers of such a height and strength that one has a true harbor, a sanctuary away from crippling turmoil and pain, but yet low enough, and permeable enough, to let in fresh seawater that will fend off the inevitable inclination toward brackishness. ~ Kay Redfield Jamison
If you’ve spent much time by the ocean, you understand the importance of sea walls. If the walls are too high, they prevent the tidal influx of new salt water replacing the old and the harbors and coves become brackish. But to live without the sea walls altogether would mean certain devastation.
Part of maintaining the shore line is to build sea walls. Part of maintaining the heart is to build healthy boundaries. It’s tricky. One of the most difficult problems is to construct these barriers of such a height and strength that one has a true harbor … but yet low enough, and permeable enough, to let in fresh seawater that will fend off the inevitable inclination toward brackishness.
When we shut ourselves off from the insight and input of others, we become brackish. Brackish water is the habitat of creatures like catfish and gar and eel and puffer fish. It has a peculiar smell.
I returned from a week without internet to some distressing emails. We all know about online bullying. There’s also online God-ing. Some of my blogger friends have been crushed by people speaking to them for God, exhorting them for God, correcting them for God.
While most of us are interested in other perspectives and welcome a lively exchange of ideas, we’re also rather vulnerable to the unanticipated rogue wave that crashes across our sea wall. Just like after a Tsunami, the natural reaction is to build higher and higher walls, or to give up and walk away, devastated and discouraged.
I’ve found God to be not only willing, but insistent, on speaking for Himself. It requires my full attention to sail my own ship. I won’t tell you how to sail yours.
Dear Melissa @ iamnotshe has nominated me for the 7×7 Link Award (I’ve accepted it before but I didn’t do the linking part). I’ve decided to fulfill the linking to 7 of my posts in the following way: when there’s a topic that 2 minutes won’t accommodate, I’ll link to a previous post to supplement my thinking, beginning with one for this post: You’re Not It.
May we all be mindful of crashing through another’s sea wall.