To build an arch or a tower (9-23-2013)

There’s this museum in Missouri I used to go to all the time and my favorite activity in the entire building was this cushion block arch. There were two platforms about 6-8 feet apart and probably 10 to 12 blocks that were angled and designed in a puzzle like fashion to build up into an arch, connect at the top, and be a solid design. However, in order to build that arch, you needed someone at the other side working with you, building the blocks until you were close enough to put the last one in together while still holding your respective sides. If one of you let go near the top, one person could support it for a little, but that last piece that holds the foundation steady would never go in without the other person. Likewise, if a bigger crash happened, you’d need both people to build it back again.

To me this is a metaphor for relationships with people. If you have a solid foundation of trust, memories and friendship, and there’s a little wear and tear, with a little bit of work, one or both of you can fix it right up. If, however, your blocks come tumbling down, one person, no matter how determined, motivated or strong they are, cannot build it back alone.

In life, this has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I’m usually the one fighting tooth and nail to keep people in my life (to my own detriment at times). Maybe I thought I needed them…maybe I  hoped they needed me. Either way I’ve learned the burden is not all on me to fix everything and everyone. Before I felt like I was running back and forth to both sides of the arch trying to build for me and for them, only to see ALL of the blocks crash down. Suddenly not only the friendship was lost, but so was I. I’ve learned, however, that I can rely on myself for self-support. No, I can’t build an “arch of friendship” with someone all on my own, but I can set up a nice foundation for myself so that when someone else crashes, I don’t g0 down with them.

I have some pretty amazing people in my life. Some are recent additions, some let go of their side of the arch, and some have been holding their end strong for many, many years. To those new additions, thanks for jumping on board. To those who let go, thanks for helping me learn to build my side stronger, and to those who are still around, thanks for being such a strong support.

Let’s face it, life’s a little more fun when you can build a shape that’s a little more complex like an arch, but I now know how to be my own tower.  And that is a huge blessing.

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