Walls and Roads

The finest triumph of civilization, in every phase of human activity, is the tearing down of walls of separation, aloofness and antagonism between nations, classes and individuals. Commerce has done much, the telegraph, the telephone and wireless have had their part, increased travel and the spread of education have also been factors in sapping to a degree the walls of ignorance and intolerance.

The great walls of life that shut us in so that we can neither give our best nor be our best, are those of repression, of prejudice, of ignorance, pride, fear, suspicion, selfishness, and misunderstanding.

This world of ours needs fewer walls but more roads, open roads, sunlit roads to the minds and hearts and lives of those around us. Walls separate, roads connect; walls exclude, roads invite; walls have the limitation of an accepted finality, roads the spirit of adventure into the land of new hope; walls speak ever the “mine” and “thine” of proprietorship, roads whisper the “ours” of trusteeship; walls mean imprisonment, roads freedom; walls proclaim aloofness, roads smile companionship. Consciously or unconsciously, purposefully or idly, day by day, we are all either builders of walls or makers of roads. Walls encircle us within ourselves; roads enshrine us in the hearts of others.” ~ William George Jordan

Where there is an underlying respect for human dignity and a passionate desire to not only know the truth but to live life according to its framework, the great walls built by men are pulled down brick by brick. The personal walls fall first – the pet peeves, the cynicism, pettiness and jaded vision, the accusatory and condemnatory attitudes towards others – and the resultant increase in radiance gently heats and melts away the glue that holds together the walls of those within your sphere of influence.

I remember the first time I realized that children in any country, of any socioeconomic background, of any race, color or creed are fundamentally similar. Young children deal with one another based on the roads they perceive between them. The walls have not yet entered the picture. This was one of the many valuable discoveries made while traveling at a young age, a recognition that has nourished my faith in the possibilities for mankind when everything else in and around me screams “give up on them, there is no hope, human nature is indomitable…”

That state of innocence is not lost with adulthood, it only recedes to the degree that you fall prey to the “great walls” to which Mr. Jordan points, attitudes and stances like prejudice, ignorance, selfishness and fear. Cleanse yourself of those defiling qualities and the innocence fills back in as surely as a garden does when cleared of weeds. Innocence cannot be lost, it is only withdrawn.

How are you cleansed? The primary tool of which I am aware is forgiveness. You must accept forgiveness deeply within your own heart and extend it as widely as possible into the world around you. Forgiveness is a healing balm like no other.

The process of cleansing is as much about what you do as what you don’t do. Both are equally important. To grow a garden you cannot satisfy yourself with simply removing the rocks and weeds and preparing the soil. You must plant seeds if you are to expect a new harvest.

Unfortunately, building walls or roads is not optional. It is the nature of our design. It is what we do. You are always doing one or the other and it is in your best interest, in our best interest as a race to be educated about and conscious of the nature of our influence. It is one or the other and only you can decide for yourself as to what it will be.

So, what will it be?

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