You can repair things time after time – but patching-up is, ultimately, finite in its scope.
There will always come a moment – whether we speak of the body, a relationship, a job or a life phase – when we have to admit that the cracks have won, that no further remedial action is possible. And, at that point, the only thing to do is to knock the edifice down, see it lying broken at our feet, grieve over it (and give thanks for what it has given, and taught, us in our lives) and then be willing to bend to the task of rebuilding.
My life has been crumbling for some years now. I kept ramming more bricks in, hoping to make it last that little bit longer; kept trowelling in the mortar to hold that which was, fundamentally, rotten in place – for one more hour, day, week.
I was procrastinating – as so many of us do – scared of the expense (financial and emotional) of a rebuild, convinced in my mind (if not my heart and soul) that ‘make do and mend’ could plaster over even the biggest cracks.
I was deluding myself.
Some cracks are pointing us to the urgent need for fracture. Some fissures teach us that the pain of breakage and temporary loss is far less than the horrific uncertainty of turning a blind eye to a crevasse-becoming-a-canyon.
There comes a point when we have to let it all fall down – and that includes our own psyches, egos, lower selves. We have to let it all collapse in this way in order that our higher selves can follow on with their metaphorical wheelbarrows full of bricks, their cement mixers, their glass windows and ready-cut doors, their banisters and stair planks, their sewerage and water fixtures – and all the other materials needed to rebuild over a space once occupied by a now-flattened home.
But in this kind of rebuilding of the soul (for that is what it amounts to), we can learn from the houses we have knocked down previously. We can adapt our internal design; we can think hard about what trees and bushes we plant in our gardens; we can narrow our needs down to suit the rebuilding of our spirits – and we can emerge triumphant from the dirt and detritus, the greenery in our souls pushing through the scattered flagstones of a previous self and sowing their vibrant hope for the future.
Because there are times when we can only spread our wings and ascend to the next level when the bricks-and-mortar of security lie in piles of rubble at our feet.