The Mortar

I wrote a blog post years ago about when I craft a story, it involves the bricks, but it is not about the bricks. The red vinyl bar stool, the crooked grin, smoothing arm hairs all the same direction, a warm mug of tea that paints your face with a ginger sauna, a jolt up the spine as you hit the ground running. All Bricks. All things, important building blocks.

But I don’t do it for the bricks. I do it with the bricks, but not really for the bricks. I, myself, am a mortar gal.

When we shopped for a home years and years ago, the hardest thing to give up was my dream mortar color. There was a different feel when the mortar was a creamy white rather than the typical tract-home gray. Even with identical bricks, the white mortar seemed to be about something as it locked all those fired clay rectangles in place. The gray mortar disappeared, faded away, which seems such a sad thing for such an important component. When something holds the universe together, it should get a little spotlight.

It’s what connects things that matters to me. It’s what turns a pile of bricks into a house, a pile of words into a story, a pile of experiences into a life. I love when things make sense, when they come together. It’s not so much the things in the happening I love so much as the sense-making that happens because the things all align a certain way. The idea, the why, the purpose. The wall may be full of bricks, but the mortar keeps it standing and directs its shape.

I have struggled to do things lately. Momentum grows elusive in my life, and each forward step feels like dragging lead weights. I haven’t been able to figure my way out except through, but that is getting harder and harder. I’ve been wondering why simple things have become so difficult.

I recently read that if your why is strong enough, you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes. And then I remembered my love for mortar. How could I have forgotten? Like duct tape and the force, it is purpose that holds the universe together, and our lives together.

Somewhere in the past few years, I’ve gotten caught up in bricks. Stacking and stacking them, coming unglued with anxious worry over whether they would topple with the slightest wind. It’s time I focused again on mortar. It’s time I worried less about the whats in my life, and centered more on the whys. A white mortar could do that. A white mortar would bring the attention back to what really matters in my life; not how many bricks I can stack, but how well they fit and stay in place, all with that mortar that glues one thing to another, and holds my universe together.

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