The Bricks in Your Head

About three years ago, my wife and I decided to brick our backyard. We have two big trees that cast shade across the yard throughout the growing season; those, combined with four dogs meant no grass and plenty of mud. We had a hard time finding the bricks we wanted to use, but when we did, I stockpiled…hence the 6×8 stack of bricks in the corner of the drive for the past three years.

Ami and I had been talking about moving those bricks since the moment we stacked them there. We talked about finding someone to move them for us. We talked about using them in another part of the property. We talked about giving them away. We talked about selling them. We talked about putting a tiny stick of dynamite in them and exploding them into a fine powder that could float away on the evening breeze. Bottom line: the bricks were still in the driveway.

I often thought about how hard it would be to move the bricks myself. I thought about how my back might go out. I wondered how much each brick weighted (about 10 pounds!). I thought about how much weight in total I would be moving. I thought about where to put them and how to stack them. I thought about how many days it would likely take for me to move them. I considered how that would fit with my work schedule and how to spread it out over time. I groaned while thinking about how hot it is this summer and how hot it would be while moving the bricks. Lots and lots of thinking and no brick moving.

Then, out of nowhere, I got home last Monday, changed my clothes, and with absolutely no plan other than where I would stack them, I began moving the bricks. Brick by brick, into my old red, Radio Flyer wagon – the one my friends and I used for hauling each other down the sidewalk when we were kids. The wagon that was at various times a ride at the fair, a tank, a plane, a submarine, and a space ship. Now, it was carrying bricks for the same boy 50 years later.

After three hours and a bucket of sweat, all the bricks had been moved. All of them. Three hours. In three hours, I accomplished what three years of thinking hadn’t touched. How many other areas in my life are exactly the same? How many different piles of bricks am I carrying around in my mind that could be dispatched in three hours, or three minutes?

Mind bricks are heavier than driveway bricks.

Do is less painful than think.

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