The Cost of Building a Wall

Cost of Building a Wall

Unless you live under a rock, you might know there is a lot of talk these days about “wall building” and who is paying for that wall. Yes, my title was intentional; I wanted to get your attention. BUT, rest assured this post is not political! It’s real life.

Seventeen years ago, my life changed from the plan I had in mind. When I got married, it was forever and my future looked like this: I would teach until I had children, then I would be a stay-at-home mom taking care of house, family, nurturing a husband and supporting him in his career so he could thrive and advance. Well, life is never a straight line and silly for us to think it is. I found myself a single parent, raising two small boys, having to re-enter the workforce.

Let me pause here to acknowledge the fact that when I heard this “wall” analogy, it was a tough one to swallow because it was so true and hit me right between the eyes. Hearing this comment crystallized something in me that I realized I didn’t even know I had done.

I built a wall around myself and the boys. Yes I did, brick by brick. When my marriage ended, I made a decision right away that I would never sacrifice my boys for my career, dating relationships, friendships, vacation, or anything else. You see, they didn’t choose divorce or to live in a “broken home”, which for the record isn’t broken at all. It doesn’t even have a fracture in it. And THAT was the purpose for my wall.

I built a wall for protection, for myself and my sons. I built a wall to show them about sacrifice. I built a wall to show them that God is the king over our lives and that He would bless us in all circumstances. I built the wall to help establish boundaries for my life. It was like a line in the sand I wouldn’t cross over if it took energy/time away from my first priority, raising these children. It was the point of focus when faced with tough decisions.

We think we can do it all, society tells us we can do it all and have it all. And they are right, BUT there’s a missing piece of information. We can’t have it all or do it all at the same time. I built the wall to remind myself that I wasn’t going to miss out on something in those years, because what was in front of me wouldn’t be there forever and time was moving quickly.

The cost of my wall: (YES it was darn hard many times!)

  • I didn’t travel
  • I didn’t advance in my career at the same speed as others
  • I said no to friendships
  • I didn’t have new things: clothes or home décor
  • I missed out on activities and opportunities.
  • I missed out on dating relationships
  • I missed out on things with my family.
  • I spent more time alone than an extrovert should.
  • I have to start things new at age 50 rather than being in the middle of a plan.
  • The biggest cost is coming now; dismantling those bricks, one by one, as my life season is changing and transitioning.

Would I do it all again – ONE HUNDRED TIMES OVER!  I realized that I just did what I did along the way, when my plan changed course. Now I am at a place to look back and say, I wouldn’t change one thing about it AND look what’s ahead of me. I have a sense of expectancy about what is in store for me, both personally and professionally. I have realized that perhaps, because it took 20 years to get here and build that wall, it’s not going to take 20 minutes to dismantle it. Each brick that I take down is joyful and special because I get to think about why I put it there in the first place and how much fun it was along the way.

At the beginning of 2017, I had the honor and privilege to have separate conversations with my boys (completely unprompted) that reassured me the cost of the building the wall was worth every single sacrifice, dollar and decision. As boys, when they built something with blocks or Legos, their favorite part was running through it and knocking it down with force. That’s what they said to me, in essence, bulldoze that wall, it served its purpose, now go have that life you deserve and have a blast doing it. Yep, from an 18 and 20 year old – BOOYAH!