Now Playing: April 27, 2007 (May Issue of Journey Magazine)
As a young girl I liked to play with building blocks. I advanced from wood blocks to metal erector sets. The many dolls given to me did little to change my desire to build. Perhaps this came from my father. I watched him bring home numerous cinder blocks and giant concrete blocks from his job as a cement truck driver. He would use these blocks for anything imaginable. Proudly with a plump beet face and large bulging arm muscles he would carry his “finds” to our back yard, to the dismay of my mother. I remember trying to build my own backyard hideaway with cinder blocks until I discovered spiders were already residents. I switched to the bigger concrete blocks. It was a tedious process and I still don’t know how I lifted them. My parents did not mind me spending time in my hideaway. They knew where I was because there was no door. For reasons that I could not understand, I needed a hideaway. At times I would leave the blocks behind to explore the woods. My mother thought I got “lost” intentionally because I would sit for hours watching birds build their nests. It fascinated me why birds built new nests every year. This seemed foolish to me as a child but wise to me now.
Over time a different hideaway of concrete blocks became my prison. My childhood hideaway had been taken apart for “better purposes” as my father said. My childhood pains became my new solid concrete blocks, a secure hideaway. I aptly named each block: abused, deprived, and rejected. The largest block was named: “Self-blame.” With passing years I added more blocks naming them for new hurtful experiences. These blocks reinforced the original ones. My hideaway soon had many escape rooms. I learned how to control the light, lifting one block long enough to see with clarity than slamming it back down whenever I became afraid.
But, I still had the door issue. Occasionally a compassionate soul would walk in encouraging me to leave the blocks behind, but I steadfastly refused. My blocks were justifiable for facts supported their existence. I had been harmed, suffered from abuse of power, and my trust violated. Experiences that built the heavier blocks were the untimely deaths of loved ones. I had a right to be angry and fearful. My prison grew and my resentments became confusing shackles. Eventually, I added blocks of egotism, accomplishment and money. These decorative blocks proclaimed to all that I was doing fine.
But the light persisted in shining through my blocks, more so after I became a reiki master. The light shone directly into my higher consciousness. My spiritual practice would turn a glaring lamp back onto me. Block after block crumbled in this light. When I channeled, I would talk of forgiveness, heart chakra energy and expansion of positive thoughts. I worked to forgive with regularity and blocks disappeared into thin air. Apparently, they were not heavy blocks at all. It was I who had decided they were.
After awhile, it seemed only several pieces from my original blocks remained. One day I walked away from them and into the light. The doorway had always been open. But, I didn’t walk alone. I walked away with the help of spirit and my intent to live fearlessly and joyfully. I asked for spirit to guide me to release these remnants from me because I could not by myself. I realized how much my blocks had prevented me from living my life fully.
Recently, I became an ordained interfaith minister. Spirit had tested me because a short time afterwards I endured a hurt from someone who meant much to me. I chose to not justify my pain, reside in anger, seek retribution or dwell in resentment. I chose to forgive. That unbearable hurt became my blessing. By choosing to forgive I chose to be free.
There was one block hiding which I had avoided. It was the heaviest block of all, “Self-blame”. I again asked spirit to help. As I walked out farther into the light I can see the world again with child-like eyes watching birds build nests. Instead of disappearing, the block transformed into a beautiful bird that whistled a joyful tune of my deservedness to give and receive love.
Inevitably there will again be hurts that will need to be forgiven and I will ask for forgiveness for any pain I inflict. I can rebuild nests as my life changes in trust, not fear. With spirit as my guide and forgiveness as the doorway to a better world I will never again build a hideaway. Forgiveness brings freedom.
Mary Ann Reiger, Rev.