I have a bit of a thing (the kind of thing some may call an unhealthy obsession) with castles. In my opinion, there are three basic kinds- ranging from the fully functioning refurbished attractions filled with bus loads of tourists to just a few crumbling walls on a hill- indistinguishable from a field of boulders to the casual passerby.
It’s the ones in the middle that intrigue me the most. The ones where the walls are still standing, but not much else. There’s no big to-do about them, no leaflets, no tour guides, no crowds (unless you count the local livestock).
But there is something magical about standing within the walls- seeing all the invisible floors above, with passageways leading to sky. Where the wall crumbles, there are layers on layers of stone- with a moment’s focus, it is easy to see where the structure was rebuilt, refurbished, repurposed, reinforced. There is much more to see than in the ones decked out in period furniture.
It is not polished perfection that makes them beautiful. It’s their openness, their freedom, their acceptance and display of change.
That is what I want to become. I want to be open, to be stronger- even if it involves a bit of crumbling.
I worry though that when things go wrong it’s more than just a crack in the image I would like to present. I worry that rather than an opportunity to learn, the cracks mean that I’m about to crumble completely taking down everything in my path.
That’s where my idea of discipline comes in. I want to be helped to acknowledge my flaws. Otherwise I’d prefer to blissfully ignore them, letting the damage fester and spread, and that’s not the way of progress.
I also want to know that someone else sees my flaws and cares. Acquaintances express caring by making little of the misstep and moving on. While I know that this is to help me stop obsessing, a small part of me wonders if their motivation isn’t more along the lines of edging slowly away from an impending disaster.
To call me out on my flaws- to firmly force me to acknowledge and gently help correct them- to allow me to crumble a bit in the process of repair- that is a deep expression of love.