The Pulse

The Pulse

Behind The Barriers
Drew
Drew
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His eyes stinging with sweat, he came to a halt in his work—the wall. The wall was made of pure steel and it stood high above the ground. No one could see over the metal barrier. He never felt so…safe.

*******

The first wood plank went up. Before applying any of the white paint, he edged in a list. The list was dug deep into the wood; unless the fence be taken down—the names will never fade away.

The sun was just rising, and with it, his work was just beginning. He began by digging individual slots for the picket planks. He shoveled deep so the fence would be planted in the ground. Then, one by one, each plank stood up. The man connected each plank by two rails. The posts stood 4 feet tall and 3 feet was in the ground. The distance between each post was only 1 inch—that way no can see beyond it. He then went on to paint it white. Each stroke of the brush meant something to him, each plank he finished coating was decorating something. When he was all done with his white picket fence, he felt accomplished. After all, it was perfectly symmetric and surrounded his entire house. The wood was dense and planted firmly in the ground. The fence was so…pleasing. To anyone walking by, the fence looked like it belonged—natural. He made a picket fence for this reason. He didn’t want anyone to be questioning—concerned—about what laid behind the fence.

*******

It was hurt, screaming in pain. It was numb, silent in despair.

*******

He became no longer content with this worthless wood. If one so wished, they would approach the 4-foot-tall fence and see the house— “too close” he thought. Besides, what once was a perfect coat of white paint was now a chipping and deteriorating, fading white picket fence. He then went to put in another fence: this time it would be a chain fence—something not so appealing. He laid the blueprint: It would again surround his house. This time though he would make this fence 7 feet tall. It would also be placed 7 feet from his picket fence. “A more comfortable height and distance” he thought. The chains were to be thick and dense so that a child’s hand could not even fit between the holes. When he finally installed the metal chain fence He thought to himself “This will keep them away; this ugly thing should do the trick”

*******

It was fury, full of fire and burning hate. Yet, it was cold and empty.

*******

This fence was stronger, more stable, yet, it was, in some sense, see through—after all it was just chain fence. People could still see through the barrier and see the picket fence behind and then over that short wall—his house. He was fed up with this; he will have his safety. He started to design it. It was to be 20 feet high and 4 feet thick. Again, it would surround his house. Frustration and haste went into its making. It was in a short matter of time for the wall to come up—the steel wall. It casted a shadow on the house when the sunset came. It was impregnatable, it was an immovable defense. Its foundation was deep and its purpose was undoubting. His reasoning was deep, his purpose was intentful. No mistakes were made in its building, its creation was of perfect design.

********

It was a storm, raging and crashing. Yet, it was a puddle, still and lifeless.

********

His eyes stinging with sweat, he came to a halt in his work—the wall. The wall was made of pure steel and it stood high above the ground. No one could see passed the metal barrier. He never felt so…safe. Yet, one day, and that’s all it took, a visitor stood pounding the outside of the steel wall. The strong bashes were heard from the house. The owner of the house, the builder of the walls, could not ignore the pounding. He, annoyed, went up to the last barrier and yelled “Would stop that, please? Thank you.” The builder of the wall was starting to walk away when the banging from the steel wall continued. He again approached the cold steel and yelled “I told you stop! What do you want?” Then came a response, it was quiet but still hearable from the other side of the steel wall, “I only wish to come in and say hello”. The man, the builder of the wall, was a little confused by the reply. Somehow, unknown how to him, the builder of the wall, asked “If I let you say hello, will you then go?”.

The visitor outside of the wall replied, after a moment, “Yes”. The builder of the wall then let the intrusion in. The visitor, when they met eyes, said “Hello” to the man.

The builder of the wall then replied awkwardly “Hello?”.

The visitor, still looking right at the man’s eyes, said “Well I best be off”.

The man bewildered by the statement, asked, as the visitor was leaving, “Was that it?”. With his backed turned towards the man, the visitor replied “You should really consider tearing this wall down…Drew”. Quickly, the man responded “How do you know my name? Hey! How did you know my name!”. Too late—the visitor was gone.

********

It used to live, it used to love.

********

The next day, again, at nearly sunset, there was pounding at the steel door. This time, the man was angered and went to meet the visitor. Just in case of it being different person, the man yelled again, “Hello, would you stop that please? Thank you.” Again, as the man was leaving the wall, the banging started again.

“Hey! Is it you again?” The man yelled, “Please, go bother someone else!” The pounding still continued, “You said you would leave me alone after you said hello!”

“I said I would leave yesterday; I said nothing about today!”

After a long moment, the man grudgingly petitioned “If I let you in today, will you not come back tomorrow or any other day?”

The visitor replied “Only if that’s what you want

He then let him in again. When the two met eyes, again, the visitor had smile on his face, “Hello again” he cheekily said. The builder of the house was first silent and then “What exactly do you want, and how did you know my name?” The visitor quickly answered “How long since you’ve seen the sunset?”.

“What?” asked the builder of the wall.

“Yah know the sunset, how long since you’ve seen it?”

The man answered “Awhile…Since I put the wall up”.

The visitor responded “Shame, real shame; since lately the sunsets have been beautiful”.

“They’re always beautiful around here.”

“Then why put the wall up?”

“I don’t watch them anymore”

“Shame, they’re still real beautiful.”

Growing impatient, which what seemed at the time a pointless conversation, the man, irritated, asked “Are we done?”

“Yes, sorry. I must be off.” As the visitor was turning to leave, “You should at least consider it, taking down this wall and all.” And again, the visitor was gone.

The man annoyed by the intrusion went to bed—trying to sleep off his irritation. When he finally fell asleep, he dreamed. He dreamed of watching the sunsets with them. He awoke. Stirred by the dream he got up. He then ran over to puke in his bathroom toilet. After the emission, the man walked to see the steel wall. “I guess…I would like to see them again” he thought. He then tore down the steel wall.

********

It use to pound. It used to throb.

********

It took until dawn to bring the steel wall down. He was exhausted and retired to his house. He opened the door and went to a backroom. In the room, laid a safe. He then spun the code and cracked the safe open. In the safe laid photographs—he gave a sigh. He picked up the stack of pictures. The first was a wedding photo of him and his wife. Then was a photo of his children and him playing baseball on the lawn. The next—was a family picture of them watching the sun go down—watching the sunset all together—all alive. He then began to cry—and he cried bitterly. He cried so long, puddles began to form of the floor of the backroom.

********

It used to beat. It used to pump.

********

The next day came and so did the visitor. The man was awoken, on the floor of the backroom, by the sound of a bat hitting the, now rusted, chain fence. When the man went out to meet the visitor, knowing exactly who it was, said “Hello again.”

“Hello!” the visitor enthusiastically responded. “I see you took the wall down, good choice! Now you can see those magnificent sunsets!”

“Yup. Is there something you want again?”

“I was just hoping to play a little baseball with yah, only—this metal fence is in the way,” There was another awkward silence between the two: the man was refusing to respond to the visitor. “When was the last time you threw and hit the ball around?”

“Awhile…Since my family died.” quietly replied the man. By now the visitor had been let inside of the chain fence. The visitor then put his hand on the man’s shoulder. Quickly, the man noticed—there was holes in the palm of the visitor’s hands. “Let’s say we do something about this fence then, Drew?

********

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Cover Image Credit: That White Paper Guy

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
17882
views

Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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You Ain’t Waiting For God To Bring You Your Dinner, You Get Up And Go Cook It

My words often get jumbled and don't make sense, so I figured writing it would help me come across clearly.

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Dear guy friends of mine,

I want you to know how grateful I am for your friendship. Having close guy friends has helped me better understand men and learn how the male species operates. I've been able to ask you so many questions and you've responded with thoughtfulness, kindness, grace, and honesty. I appreciate your willingness to talk to me.

I want to encourage you in something, and with some of you I have tried, but I think I came across as a little crazy. From what I've been told by married women, guys are very afraid of actual crazy. You want your girl to have some crazy (because all women have at least a little bit of crazy), but you don't want her to be, like, crazy. I get that and respect that.

I want to encourage you to ask girls out. It's scary. You're afraid of rejection. I know this because several of you have told me so. I recently spoke with a guy who's been married for a few years and has a baby daughter. He told me that you guys are scared, you don't want to put your heart on the line and have it crushed. That's a good reason not to pursue girls: you'll remain safe and free from hurt if you don't put your feelings out there.

But here's the other side of it: You'll never find that girl if you never search for her. Now, I know that all things happen in God's timing and as imperfect humans, we can't force things to happen outside of God's timeline. However, Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas said this in a sermon several years ago:

"But something's happened in evangelical circles where if you're single you're supposed to not want to be married, but be content in a spot and that's somehow more glorifying than following God's wiring of you to want a mate. And so in the end what happens is that you walk around like a liar. I mean, poor young ladies! Almost all of them have been told, "As soon as you're content, God will send you a man." So you've got hundreds of thousands of women running around acting content! "I'm content, where is he?" You've got other guys going, "You know, I'm just gonna wait for God to bring me the right one." Well, you ain't waiting for God to bring you your dinner, alright? You get up and go cook it."

Pastor Chandler goes on to say that he's not telling the guys to go on the hunt and prowl. No! He's telling guys that they have a role to play in pursuing a woman to marry. Girls have a role to play, too. Girls can't just hang out with their girlfriends in hopes that they'll lock eyes with Prince Charming while in the grocery store or walking their dog in the park. No, girls need to build up the guys in their lives and respect them by letting the guys be guys and giving them opportunities to be gentlemen. That's what I appreciate about you guys, my guy friends. You are such gentlemen and I love that. Don't be afraid to ask out the girl that you think is sweet, cute, pretty, funny, kind, silly, honest, loyal, and the right amount of crazy. You've got this!

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