My granddaddy’s house in Paris was paradise for a twelve year old boy. His yard rivaled Fred Sanford’s. He had every kind of junk and clutter imaginable: rusty tools, scrap metal, old tires, wheels and hubcaps, bottles, bikes, cars and much more. My brothers and I would spend hours exploring, discovering and building.
When I was twelve, my older brother, Shay, and I spent almost two months at Granddaddy’s house. Granddaddy had fallen while we were in Arkansas and broke his back so my older brother and I had to care for Grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. We had already spent hours exploring so one day we decided to create and build. So we built a fort… in a tree. Between my Granddaddy’s house and his neighbors house, near the street, was a fruitless mulberry tree: perfect for building. So we gathered as much scrap wood and nails and tools as we could and started building our fort. If you had asked us why we were building a fort we would have told you it was to defend against our enemy. Once finished it was a great fort. It wrapped completely around the tree, had a piece of plywood on a hinge that could be raised as a shield and even had an old rusty pulley for hauling stuff up.
It took us a few days to complete our fort but once it was done it was perfect. Then we put on some of Granddaddy’s old WWII army gear, grabbed our bb guns and headed up to defend our fort. And we sat… And sat… And sat some more. We knew which direction the enemy was coming: the side with the shield. We sniped a few suspicious stray cats (don’t judge me) but the unknown, unseen enemy never came.
After spending many wasted hours in that fort that we had wasted many hours building we realized there was no enemy coming for us. They simply didn’t exist. Life is like that for many of us. We spend years building up our defenses, guarding our hearts against enemies that never come. We miss grand opportunities to love, to trust, to be loved and to be trusted. We miss so many incredible, wonderful experiences and adventures. Then one day we open our eyes and realize how much life we’ve missed all the while sitting in our inpenatrable forts with hinges and rusty pulleys.
We left the fort in that mulberry tree when we came back to Fort Worth that summer. The next time we were at Granddaddy’s it had been torn down. Not a nail was left. I don’t know who tore down that fort but I know Who can tare down the forts and walls we build in our lives, around our hearts. God say’s that He is our Strength and our Refuge. Allow Him to break down any walls you’ve built and teach you to live and love.