One block from the house I grew up in there are two large pillars. Silent sentries, standing guard at the gateway of a five-way intersection. They’re probably made out of concrete blocks and are covered with some sort of stucco facing. They’ve been there my whole life or at least as long as I’ve lived here in town.
I remember as a kid sitting on top of one of them each Memorial Day, watching the parade pass by.
I had to ride my bike down to the pillar, even though it was a short distance. I did this because I had to lean my bike up against the pillar so I could climb onto the bike seat and jump up on to the top. It offered me a wonderful view. And surprisingly, no one else seemed to think of sitting there, so it was always available to me.
I often found the pillars to be a source of strength. Especially so, when I used to walk home at night by myself from my boy scout meetings at church. It was kind of scary. But the pillars gave me a sense of peace. I did find I had to also repeat the twenty-third Psalm to myself, at least until my house was within sight.
I still see the pillars a lot. Every Tuesday morning, I pass by them on my way to visit my 96-year-old mom who still lives in my childhood home. And often on evening walks I cross paths with them.
Both have cracks now, one more than the other. Large chucks of stucco have fallen off. They lay there on the ground at the feet of the pillars. There is something incredibly sad about this to me. They’re coming apart, piece by piece. I feel like I need to do something about this.
It feels symbolic to me somehow. It seems to fit the whole feeling surrounding this pandemic. A sort of crumbling.
I wonder, is it the same for us? Do we sometimes come apart, piece by piece?
I’m strongly led to take action. I want to fix the pillars. I want to resurface them, sealing them tightly, so they won’t come apart again. And I want to write a word in bold bright red letters across the face of the patch. I want to write a beautiful word there:
I want it there for everyone to see…to remember that no matter what happens in our lives, there is always hope.
I wonder, who do I ask for permission to fix the pillars? The Highway department? The Town Administration?
Part of me is drawn to the expression that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
I wonder too, how would I patch them? What materials do I use? Who would know the right way to do this? Is there a DIY YouTube video for fixing crumbling pillars?
Every time I walk by, I think about these questions.
I come back to the same thought over and over. It’s a thought that the NIKE marketing team would feel so proud of. JUST DO IT.
I have a lot of reasons why I won’t be the one to get this done. But, the most valuable question for me is…do I have one reason TO get it done.
I want the answer to be YES. I want to share a vision of hope with the world. At least the part of the world that passed by my beautiful, ugly pillars.
I’ll keep you posted, so stay tuned.
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