Dreaping Walls

Saturday, June 28, 2008
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Psalm 18:29 – With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. (NIV)

Have you ever dreaped a wall? "Dreap" is an old Irish word which means to climb, and the action required by dreaping is to run as fast as you can towards a wall, leap high into the air, and try to catch the top of the ledge with your fingers. You then hold on as hard as you can and pull yourself up over the wall. It takes a great deal of effort, and if you miss holding onto the wall, your fingertips end up with friction burns.

Dreaping walls was a summer sport for Scottish children. Gangs of kids roamed the streets looking for a high brick wall, where the bigger kids delighted in showing off their dreaping skills. Shorter kids, like me, had to put up with ridicule and scorn, humiliation and sore fingers, until we grew taller.

The best dreaping walls were usually situated next to churches, and the biggest one where I lived was a high wall attached to St. Monica's Chapel. It was a beautiful, whitewashed wall, which was pebbled from top to bottom. This meant that it was a double agony wall — if you missed the dreap, then as you slid down the wall, the pebbles would cut across your fingers and face. Dreaping the chapel wall was always considered to be a double-double dare. Failing the dreap would be embarrassing; leaping the dreap brought a whole lot of honours.

In all of my boyhood, I only once managed to dreap the chapel wall, and I sat upon it triumphantly, gloating at my friends who couldn't do it. But my success was short lived. The old Irish priest at St. Monica's spotted me on the wall, and he shouted with enough papal authority to knock me off my perch. He might have scared the living daylights out of me, but he could not dent my pride. I had dreaped the chapel wall, and no one could ever take that from me.

I guess that the writer of Psalm 18 was also used to dreaping walls, although in this case, I think he's poetically talking about obstacles in life. His faith is such that he knows God will help him to overcome his problems and get through his worst experiences. It's that kind of simple faith in God which helps many of us through the crises in our lives. Things may appear to be insurmountable, and we wonder how we will get over them, but God is willing to reach down and help us, to carry us over the obstacles that come our way.

Prayer: Lord God, we depend upon Your grace each and every day of our lives. We especially need You in distressing times and in those moments when our problems seem to overshadow everything that we try to do. During those worrying times, we ask that You will help us to overcome our troubles and lift us out of despair. In Christ's holy name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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