Sometimes I get so tired of hearing my own voice. It always sounds louder than I intended, as if it is amplified as it comes back to me. My words bounce off walls closing in tighter around me. Suddenly, I’m claustrophobic. It seems as if the words reverberating are taking up the air space and I can’t find the oxygen as I suck the words back in.
My face finds my hands, and in that small space of my palms I find a breath, the exhale reaching my eyelashes. Maybe there is still oxygen in this place. Maybe my words are not as void as I thought. Maybe the walls are in fact stoic and still, respecting my space, even if it is a prison.
When I talked to God my words seemed to rebound. I heard a cacophony of myself returning to me as a boomerang returns to the sender. I look up and I see sky, but I look level and I see rock. How did I build this impenetrable bunker around me? It’s like a stone wall has been constructed all around. Sure, some people have added a stone here or there, but the majority are my doing.
I have spent years gathering stones. Careful, not to throw them, I stacked them. At first they developed into a low perimeter, almost like a beautiful fence marking my territory. Unrestricted, I kept building to protect. It never was really a fence, now was it? Even a fence looks like a wall when you are on your face.
When I uncover my eyes and look around again, the walls are no longer closing in, but the stones are steadfast. Hardness is hard to move. I begin to turn around and look at every place, every stone that was added and I almost see the memories playing out on each rough surface.
The stone that I put there because I was so hurt by the words someone said, I vowed never to allow anyone to hurt me that way again.
The small stone that most wouldn’t even see that was that chip that fell from my shoulders when the irritation could no longer sit there.
The menacing boulder leaving me only to shudder as I remember that horrible hurt that left me with clenched teeth and tear-stained cheeks.
The long, striated stone that stretches the length of one whole wall; the layers of hurt after hurt pressed in hard by the same person.
When I stop turning I look up and to my surprise the walls only go as high as I can reach. Everything above me is vibrant blue and alive. I manage only one word, a quiet whisper escaping as a breath to the endless sky: Yahweh.
As the air from my lungs mingles with the air above my head and above my prison and to the heavens I hear a rock fall. Without even a glance I know it was mine. For the rocks built up around my body are far lighter than those built up around my heart, and suddenly I feel an ounce lighter.
The whisper is a little louder now, containing real sound rather than just air: Yahweh.
The words come more quickly, leaving my lips before I can think of them: Yahweh, Yahweh, Yahweh. Exhale, exhale, exhale. The very name purging the stagnant air from my lungs and destroying pieces of my carefully constructed confine.
I look around me and still see rock, but there are openings now; places where I can see beyond my hard. What I see is beautiful, and I long to see more, see further, be free.
Freedom comes at a price. I may be broke, but my bill is paid in full.