This past Saturday my assignment at our Community’s “Beehive” was to cut holes for new supports in a concrete basement. “Beehive” is a time when all of our community family participate in projects around the monastery. Being one of the youngest members of my particular team, I had the task of crawling in a four-foot dusty crawl space to cut holes in concrete from the inside. Cutting a concrete wall is most challenging at the start. Concrete’s strength is in the bonding together of the materials that comprise it. An eight-inch thick wall is very strong, but once a hole is cut, it becomes easier to widen the hole and possibly disintegrate an entire wall to rubble.
We had three holes to cut form the basement to the outside. The first one was done in about an hour. After small holes are drilled along the outline of the space to be cut, the outline is cut with a saw and lastly, we break the pieces out with a hammer.
Sitting down in the crawl space I was aware of how much brighter the basement space felt with just a small stream of light beaming in from the outside. There were so many qualities to the shaft of light illuminating the basement. The light itself is very bright and gives warmth equally to everything it touches. Its glow is vibrant, glistening, and creates many patterns and shadows that reflect about the room.
As our team preps for the second hole on the outside, I sit in the quiet basement awaiting the signal to start cutting again. I can’t help but think of the parallels between my morning’s work and my spiritual life. Cutting a hole in a concrete wall requires effort, intention, and tools. But cutting a “whole” in the spiritual walls of our beings also requires effort, intention, and proper tools! Like the wall that has been put up between a friend and me over a disagreement, or a wall of fear, or a wall of anything, really, that keeps me from being fully my truest-self in Christ.
Whatever these walls may be, and no matter how strong they might appear, it’s possible to have them broken down and allow light to penetrate. Sometimes we may have to choose to crawl down in a dusty basement with intent and proper tools to break down these walls. I’ll need to remind myself that like this concrete wall, often extra effort and motivation are needed at the start to allow light to enter. With the light comes the possibility to expand the fabricated opening to allow in more light, until the time when the whole wall can be knocked down.