One Stone at a Time

Binding the disconnected parts of us

Aug 06, 2023

Connection Seasons Identity Personal Growth
red bricks with weeds

Photo by Ryan Gerrard

We spotted him while walking around our neighborhood, fixing a neighbor’s front yard steps. My husband approached him to ask about his services, since we were looking for someone to fix our backyard steps. He would be coming by a few days later to give us a quote. I was grateful, a few less phone calls I’d have to make trying to get multiple quotes. Our steps leading from the kitchen to the backyard are currently being held up by a few bricks. They’re coming loose, the bond between the rocks no longer holding. The Chicago weather has not been kind to them.

It made me think of all the ways we become unglued, detached. The things that cause us to slowly separate parts of ourselves over time. And all the various bricks we use to temporarily hold ourselves up to keep going—distractions, food, work, entertainment, busyness. Eventually, they can no longer bear the weight of our burdens. And we run out of bonding material to piece ourselves back together. We are left wondering how to reconnect, rebind, or risk breaking.

The longer I stare at the steps, the worse they look. Crooked, weathered, discolored. At this point, it’s dangerous to step on them. Not unlike interacting with someone who is fragmented, weathered by life’s storms. When intense challenges pull us in so many directions, we can’t help but feel emotionally severed. Our mental reserves get dried up, leaving us unable to hold it together for too long.

So how do we bind what has become divided within us and around us? How do we piece together parts that have separated but belong to a whole?

We begin by remembering where our strength comes from—from God, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2). The one who pieced everything together from the beginning of time. We bring our disjointed parts before Him and ask Him to fuse them back together, one stone at a time.

This can be a painful process. As much as we want to be whole, sometimes being disconnected is easier. It asks less of us. Less vulnerability, less authenticity, less showing up… for ourselves, and for others. We get used to our bricks, to our divisive ways. The idea of living from a place of wholeness where we continuously engage in growth-oriented practices seems like too much work. It won’t last long anyway, we think.

But eventually the weeds that begin to grow out of the cracks in the areas of our lives we’ve neglected begin to take over.

They show up in the form of unhealthy habits, unhealthy choices. Pretty soon, the tears in our foundation grow wider. And if we’re not careful, we will lose our footing. There are countless ways to fall, there are numerous bricks to trip over.

God never asks us to have it all together, all the time. If that were the case, what would we need Him for? He simply asks us to be still, and know that He is God. He has created us in His image—multilayered. And with so many parts, it’s inevitable that we will become divided every now and then, especially living in a broken world. Our external division is often a reflection of our internal, personal one. “As within, so without.

I am a believer that what we do to those around us, we are doing to ourselves, and same with objects—how I treat the things around me is a reflection of how I’m treating myself. So maybe if we don’t know where to begin when it comes to repairing our disjointedness, or maybe if we’ve prayed and are still waiting on God to move, we can take steps to mend things we find broken around us. A fence, a table, a lamp, or backyard stones that have become loose. It’s a lot easier than trying to mend a broken spirit.

Our landscaper is scheduled to come in a week to repair our steps. I’m thankful they will no longer pose a hazard. The bricks will be put away, until they’re needed for another project or temporary fix. He said the job will take a few hours. If only our issues of disconnection could be solved that quickly. But alas, they are a lifelong endeavor. We will go through phases of connection and division over and over, vacillating from one to the other throughout our lives. Feeling whole one moment, and completely detached the next. All we can do is remain sensitive to life’s invitations to engage deeply with ourselves and those around us, enabling us to stay connected. And maybe keep extra bonding material around, for when it’s needed. Because it will be.