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The Wall

Maundy Thursday 2024

This past week, I oversaw the building of a low rock wall in the front of my abode, Larkhaven.


I’d requested of Marc the Landscaper an Irish-style boundary of rocks, without mortar, totally in keeping with the character of the countryside in which I live.  The work was quick, and fairly easy.  The crew chief looked to be having enormous fun.  Perhaps he was recalling his childhood of building blocks.


Or maybe not.


It’s important to find fun in the present moment, regardless of the past.  Certainly, a person can be weighted down with the residue of memories that haunt, and hurt, even after years and years of having outlived them.


Building a wall against such encroachment is one way to attempt to prevent that boomerang of yesteryear from taking a few whacks at your happiness.  As a writer, even as a developing writer, I’ve rarely engaged in that defensive behavior.



The past holds as much promise as it does pain.  Yes, one can be brought low by the blows that came unexpectedly, undeservedly, and unfairly.  Ya gotta roll with them, just as soon as you re-establish your balance, your footing, and make that first step away from pain, toward, not pleasure, but toward the fulfillment of who you were born to be.


The nasties in life intend for that first step forward to not take place.  It’s almost as if they were created for that purpose, but I doubt it.  During this cloudy, chilly Easter Week, I believe the destructive beasts in this world are humans who resolutely undo their own divinely granted intent.  Sometimes, many times, it’s best to take a step away from them, a very large step away, and let them destroy themselves.

That distanced stance is not facile.  The healthy human heart quite naturally reaches out to help another in need, in danger, on a precarious perch.  My fictional hero, Guillaume de Vallon, in THE DAWN is faced with coming to the aid of those whom he can nobly save; and coming to the acceptance of people who fight his good will, to the point of endangering him, his loved ones, and, yes, themselves.


What does a person owe to the lost soul?  An outstretched hand of kindness, aiming toward compassion.


What does a person owe to the willfully lost soul, one who despises, even attacks, the hand of benevolence?  A determined distance is that due, one that might be called a retreat.  I deem that deed an act of courage, in the face of hatred, malice, and the type of cruel ill will that only the devil can inspire.


I’ve more experience in that survival skill than I wish to contemplate.  And, yet, upon this day, I think of those lessons in living freely; and I regret not a single one of them.


To have your good heart used against you is one of the most heinous of betrayals of trust that any participant in humanity can perpetrate.  History, personal and public, is full of the tales of those vile cowards.  History records too little the stories of the valiant who strove to achieve the purpose of their Maker.

When a benevolent person rejects the invitation to do evil, the choice is made quietly, frequently silently, as well it should be.  The force for good thereby prevails over the force for evil.  And this dynamic, akin to a chemical reaction, occurs, miraculously, in the midst of the loud and lewd cacophony of those who trespass against us.

We the Patriots have been asked to forgive the unforgivable during the past years, going into decades.  I personally have struggled to forgive that which is unforgivable, and to pray for those who do not deserve my prayers.


I’ve conferred with my Creator on those two impasses, and have realized that the Ineffable does not dignify an insincere request.  If it’s not from the heart, that supplication is worthless.


It’s not a pleasant sensation for me, knowing that I fall short of this ability to be divine in forgiveness. I therefore comprehend that I’m only human.  The wish, or hope, to forgive the unforgivable aspires to the Heavens.  In that instance, it’s the desire, not the deed, that counts, lest I invite hypocrisy into my heart.

My rock wall is more decorative than functional, and was thus simple to construct.  The more vital walls, within, and without, my domain require the force of will that is impenetrable and unconquerable.  That volonté, as the French say, must be unbreakable to fulfill its mission.


“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” — that sacred invocation does not apply to the traitors and louts destroying my nation.


“Not my will, but Thine” is getting the job done of dealing justice to those unjust.


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