In life we dig holes. In February of this year, I dug a very large hole with my friend, Diego. Together we jackhammered, pick- axed, and shoveled nearly 208 square feet of rock, asphalt, and dirt. Needless to say, it was grueling, backbreaking work. I was sweating like a pig, my back was about to break, and my hands were covered in blisters. On top of that I had the merciless wind and cold sending chills down my spine. I learned that day that it is very hard to dig holes.
I’m not sure what it was, the heat of my body contrasting the cold or pure exhaustion, but all of a sudden, I was hit with enlightenment. I literally felt cooler and my head lighter, and I realized that on physical, mental, and spiritual levels everyone digs themselves into holes. Whether it be the metaphorical holes of addiction, obesity, or financial ruin, everyone at some point of their lives finds themselves trapped in a hole.
Another wave of realization hit me. It’s hard work digging a hole! You have to dedicated a lot of time and hard work into digging a hole! It’s not a easy task. Diego and I moved nearly 2-3 tons of rock and dirt with the strength of our backs. If we were to step back for a second and see all the time and energy we’ve dedicated to digging ourselves into the hole, then we would be able to at the realize that we could be dedicating just as much time and energy into filling the hole back up.
Now maybe some people understand this to a certain degree, but are content with just putting some of the dirt back in so it doesn’t look so bad or give it a quick cover- up like a jungle trapper using a tarp and leaves. These people choose a quick and easy way to fix their problems, but the trap still exists no matter how well you hide it, and the hole is still there to fall into even if it’s smaller. The only true way to be rid of the hole is to fill it.
Filling the hole requires just as much energy as digging it, but there are right ways of filling your hole and wrong ways. If my partner and I had just refilled our hole with the same broken up concrete and asphalt that we originally taken out, then the hole would be full, but uneven and careless- looking. Nonfunctional. I thought once Diego and I had finished our dig that all we had to do was pour concrete, and I was sadly mistaken. I wanted the easy, lazy pour. The quick solution to a long- term problem. If we had just poured our concrete into the empty hole, then eventually the concrete would crack and sink. You must acquire the proper knowledge, take your time to plan and measure to set a good foundation that will prevent future problems in the long term.
So I learned. I learned how to create a proper slope. How to drill holes into neighboring concrete and how to lay rebar which is the foundation. We made mistakes and had to backtrack to ensure everything was just right. We even accidentally pushed about a fourth of the rubble we dug out back into the hole with a Bobcat we used to load our rubble into the disposal and had to dig it back out again. It was a learning process and was frustrating at times, but we were finally finished and were ready to pour.
My spirit was tested digging that hole. Perhaps thats the point of the holes we dig ourselves into. My body ached and my hands blistered, but I came out of that job a different person, a stronger person. I learned hard work is required both in digging your hole and in filling it back up. I also learned that you need to take time to gain the knowledge of how to properly fill your hole so that it isn’t a recurring problem in the future.
When people fall into a metaphorical hole they like to believe it’s something that just happened to them and that they were victims of a trap. They attempt to shield their egos from the fact they are the ones that dug the traps and they are the ones that cover them up. Take drug addiction for example, people who are addicted to drugs are dedicating a lot of time and energy into, using, buying, thinking of, and covering up their drug use. If they persevered and dedicated just as much energy into learning the root of their problem and how to take steps in the opposite direction or even into finding more constructive outlets, then they could fix their problems. However, most choose not to learn how to properly do this. They choose to try one thing or resist temptation once and think their holes are filled, but they haven’t laid the proper foundation. Then they fall back in and wonder why they failed.
Once you realize you can stop digging because ultimately it’s a choice, then you must put in the time and work into learning how to lay your foundation and how to properly fill your hole. Focus your thoughts and energy on learning to fix the hole instead of on the hole itself or on how big it is. Once you have learned, then put your knowledge into action. Remember that being lazy means having to put in more time and effort in the long run.
The journey doesn’t stop at filling the hole. That is just the foundation, and now you can build upon it. Do not start to build if you have not laid the proper foundation. “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who builds his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, and it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not follow them will be like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24- 27
I encourage everyone to go out and dig a hole. Know want it feels like to put in that hard work of digging and filling. Think about the metaphorical aspects of what you’re doing and feel that sense of accomplishment and growth when the job is done. Every now and then I pass by that parking lot and I remember. I feel joy and that sense of growth and accomplishment and I am grateful for the hard work. It was not my foe but my teacher. So go out there and dig a hole, learn and grow from it. Happy digging my friends!