At some point in our lives, we all encounter walls. High and formidable, they bring our progress to a standstill, and it feels like there is no way forward.
Some of us are inclined to resort to brute force. We kick and pound at the solid brick, yelling that we will find a way through. And when we get tired and exhausted, we redouble our efforts, resorting to even more force. We vow that we will overcome this wall, even if it means calling in a bulldozer.
Some of us are afraid of brute force, and we do the opposite. We retreat to places we deem more safe. We try to forget all about things like dreams, and progress. We say those are only for other people who are lucky to have smooth paths with no walls. We piddle around and fill up our days, staying far away from our own personal wall. But we can never completely forget about it. And we feel stagnant and irritable because humans are actually made for dreams and progress and a life of fear and avoidance is suffocating.
Maybe we should all be more like Mary, the contrary little orphan from India who searched for the door to the secret garden. She was a thin, sickly little wench, and the wall was high. She knew force wasn't an option. But she listened to the stories of the servants and believed that there was a garden behind the wall, a secret, mysterious place that had been locked up for 10 years. She held on to hope that the roses weren't all quite dead.
And every day she stood at the window of her nursery and made the decision to go outside - to leave the gloomy house with its 100 locked up rooms and crazy uncle who was still wallowing in his grief. She asked the grumpy old gardener questions. She ran around the old fountain and fought with the strong wind that blew across the moore until her yellow complexion turned rosy and she was actually hungry for the first time in her life. She skipped rope back and forth along the path by the ivy covered wall. She was enchanted by common things such as robins.
And in the end, it was Ben Weatherstaff's robin who showed her the half-buried key after a night of hard rain. When she picked it up, she decided to always carry it in her pocket, just in case it really was the key to the secret garden and that someday she would find the door.
And a few days later, as she was skipping rope on a day where the wind was blowing, but not too hard, one gust that was just a bit stronger than the others blew back a spray of ivy, revealing an old round knob.
Mary was prepared. She pulled back the ivy, dug the heavy metal key from her pocket, and fitted it into the lock. It felt kind of like magic. Like everything had happened just how it was supposed to. The door had always been there. And because Mary kept showing up every day with a heart full of curiosity and hope, and paid attention to little things such as robins, the door in the wall was revealed. And all she had to do was step through.
So if your fists are bloody and you've stubbed all your toes trying to knock down your wall, you need to take a break. And I really don't recommend calling in a bulldozer, especially if you are trying to get into a secret garden. Bulldozers often destroy the beautiful along with the ugly. Maybe you should take the time to talk to the people around you, even if they are common Yorkshire servants and little chirping robins. They all have a place in your journey.
And if you are shut up inside the gloomy mansion full of secrets and dark pasts, you need to go outside. Take your skipping rope and go hang out by your wall instead of being so afraid of it. Keep going back every day. Otherwise, you may miss the one perfect gust of wind that blows back that one particular spray of ivy, and reveals the rusty knob.
Because the door is there. Every wall has one. If you quietly keep showing up, it will be revealed to you. And when you walk through, it will feel a bit like magic. Like something that was always meant to be.