I went on a tour of a grand old building once. We were told many notable events had taken place there in the past. And as if to remind us, the visitors, of the importance of those who once inhabited this masterpiece of architecture, their paintings were on the walls everywhere around us. Sure I was impressed, just like everyone who’s ever been to Greece or Egypt has marvelled in silent awe at the magnitude of human potential on display in the old pillars of the Parthenon or the soaring pyramids of Giza.
Our tour guide at one point exclaimed, “If these walls could talk…” She sighed, and we sighed with her. A distant world fluttered alive before my eyes, no doubt a collage of images from all the movies and history-steeped epics I used to devour when I was a child. Our guide explained that if those walls could have talked we would have been in for an amazing feast of history mixed with insight into the private lives of the building’s intrigue-prone former occupants. My images lingered for a while, and then they flapped away, as transient as a butterfly’s life is said to be. In a way, those walls did convey a message about people who once frolicked around it calling it home; the paintings, the marble statues, the ornate chandeliers, and the grand scheme of things, literally, all painted a vision pixelated just enough to account for the fog of history.
But walls can’t talk. Unless they’re in a movie or a fantasy novel, all the walls and grandeur in the world cannot utter a single real word about what once went on in their midst. People can talk. If we truly want to learn about someone, we will resort to history books and biographies about their lives.
Like age-old walls from the past, walls of the present can’t talk. Whatever we do, build, or accomplish in our lives is only as good as it’s shared with others, and if it brings value to other people’s lives. Without testimonials, legacies lag behind, and what remains is as empty as a deceased estate.
Make your legacy now. Let the world know what you want to be. Don’t wait for your walls or biographies to speak for you. Let it be known who you have grown into. Share your successes and victories, speak about your failures and mistakes. Give and ask for feedback; bravely, just as you give and ask for help. Make yourself known to others, and make others known to you. Bricks make buildings, but hands make bricks, and handshakes make friendships. Let your intent and content be spread among everyone you care and know about.
Fear not the walls your thoughts can make in your head. Honor them by accepting them. And then move on and speak to the world about yourself. What do you dream of? What do you wish for? There’s never been a better time to make our human journey count.
Whether you call home a mansion or a shack, whether you work in a shiny skyscraper or at the carwash, speak for yourself to the world. Share your beliefs and thoughts. Don’t wait for your walls to speak for you, because they won’t. Even if they could they wouldn’t do justice to your brilliance which can light up the universe when you speak your mind.