Some Putty for Your Thoughts
Walls have many uses. They separate spaces and the people who occupy them. They provide ample surface area for hanging posters and shelves. They shield us from the elements ... And you know what? If we get creative, I am sure that you and I could come up with even more uses for walls.
And that’s exactly what I discovered my kids had done. They came up with yet another ingenious use for walls—walls can be used for putting holes in them.
Yes, you read that right.
Today I patched a wall in our house riddled with a hundred tiny holes. There were larger holes too, gouged out by toys, thumb tacks, or well … I don’t really know what actually. Either way, the result of their play was akin to something out of a war movie.
Your vocation supplies the putty and the putty knives needed to ensure that like a wall, you stand tall and strong for years to come.
To be fair, some of the holes must have been the remnants from posters that had once hung there, and others from furniture that we’ve moved around. Regardless, the whole thing was a wreck and needed to be dealt with.
Getting out my trusty ready-made drywall compound and an assortment of putty knives, I began what would surely be a long and painful process, all the while my father-in-law’s advice rang in my head: “Now remember,” he told me when I met my first drywalling job, “it is not just about filling the gaps, but it is about smoothing out the bumps.”
That was some good advice, and little did he know that it applied to much more than just an unsightly wall.
In marriage, consecrated single life, and even in the vocation of the priesthood, we find the tools to fill, patch, and smooth out all of the holes that we collected over the years of our life. And if we work at it, if we are patient with ourselves and with the faces we have been called to care for, then not only will our wounds be healed, but the many unseemly bumps in our personalities can be smoothed out as well.
Your vocation supplies the putty and the putty knives needed to ensure that like a wall, you stand tall and strong for years to come. Sometimes the movements with which you use these tools are not as clean and smooth as you would hope, and though you don’t mean to, you make holes in the lives of your loved ones. Remember too, that those working alongside you—your spouse, your children, your parishioners— are just as broken and just as wounded as you, and because that is so, they too can cause gouges in your walls if they are not careful.
Pray for those who hurt you and help them to mend their walls. Work hard on yourself so as to not continue to damage the walls around you.
After all, that is what your vocation is about.
Mend one small hole at a time, and in time you will be made new.