Sandbagging 101

Many cities in my part of the world are preparing for the rise of the Missouri River. It’s already overflowing its banks in places, but the real crest is supposed to happen within the next week.

There are all kinds of sandbag assembly lines. New sandbag technology is being used (never thought I’d ever use that phrase: new sandbag technology.)

Like others, I watch the flood news on the nightly news each evening.

Sandbagging volunteers are everywhere. Lines and lines of people, standing almost shoulder to shoulder, heaving heavy bags of sand, in assembly line fashion. Bags being passed from hands to hands until the bag reaches its designated area. Layers and layers of sandbags, lining up in opposition to the imposing water level.

And you know what I think every time?

That looks like such a huge waste of time.

I know; It’s negative. It’s defeatist. I certainly wouldn’t be the greatest encourager of the hard-working group.

But it just looks like so much work…so much manpower…for such a little wall of resistance.

As I watch the volunteers on the news, I can imagine images of the inevitable result of the water crashing through the cracks in the sandbag wall and pouring over the tops of the temporary barrier.

And yet the hope of those workers pushes them through hours of grueling labor for the chance that their property might be saved.

It made me think of the sandbagging I’ve done in my own life.

False belief that in building a stronger fort of resistance it will somehow thwart any potential harm from every touching me.

And then the disappointment breaks through the cracks in my unfortified wall.
People let me down.
I let myself down.

The reality is, we are all imperfect. It is very difficult for me to trust someone who has crossed the line of dishonesty (and I have a very wide definition of Dishonesty.) 46 years has produced an ever-increasing sandbag wall. Yet even still, relationships continue to falter. Sometimes breaking altogether, sometimes bending too uncomfortably far.

I send the sandbaggers of the Midwest the best of luck. I hope their walls hold. I hope the overwhelming waters of The Missouri River do not reach their temporarily fortified properties.

But for me,
I need to spend more time and mental energy dismantling sandbag walls of falsified protection.

Cause in the end, it is an effort in futility.

Do you have some sandbags you’d like to recycle with me?


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