Friday, January 23, 2009

Walled Out

Isolation is a form of punishment. It's used in our corrections facilities all over the world. "Solitary confinement," we call it. Remove all human contact. It's not really just punishment, it's torture.

There's a different kind of isolation. A person can be in a room full of people and still be completely alone. It's just as torturous.

Sometimes we do it to ourselves. We wall off our hearts, keeping others at a distance. This is supposed to protect us from possible hurt inflicted by others, but it doesn't. We blame others for our isolation. Our hard-shelled hearts whither inside.

Sometimes we are relegated to isolation by those around us. Plans are made that don't include us. Friendly chatter stops when we walk by. And our souls ache at the exclusion.

I am finally coming out of my own wall. While I use caution when sharing with some people about some topics, I am gradually letting the shell fall away from my heart. God is opening me up.

At the same time, I find myself being shut out of certain situations. It's terribly painful to be in a room full of people and be purposefully excluded from conversation. This is the kind of thing that tempts me to rebuild my wall, to fortify it. "You don't want me? Fine, then I don't want you either." When my efforts to engage go completely unanswered, I feel no motivation to continue trying. I don't want to intentionally open myself up to that kind of pain.

God is here with me, behind the wall built by someone other than myself. I'm waiting for Him to show me what to do with it.

So. When you're hidden by a wall of your own making or of others', how do you respond?