…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Straw, Sticks, and Bricks

By Rex Goode


We all remember the story of the three little pigs, don’t we? They were being stalked by the big, bad wolf and each little pig built himself a house to keep the wolf out. The first one built his house out of straw. The wolf blew it over with a breath. The second one built it out of sticks. It took the wolf a little more effort, but he blew it over too. The third little pig used bricks, and, of course, mortar. The wolf could not blow it down. He and his brothers were safe. We all surely know that this is more than a story about choosing the best building materials. The success and longevity of this metaphour in our modern consciousness has to do with its multiple layers of wisdom. It means something to the elderly and to little children.

As a little child, I had a big, bad wolf in my life—a predator right in my own family. He preyed on me for six long years in the form of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I responded to it like the three little pigs.

My house of straw was cooperation, not that at six years old I could do anything else. I thought for many years after that the methods he used were random or arbitrary. Evil is cunning and there was a method to it.

The abuse began with the emotional and physical, so that I saw my enemy clearly and was even prone to report it. He couldn’t have that, so he moved into the sexual, which I was far less likely to report. Not only did it make me less likely to tell, it set me up with a dilemma I could only solve one way—cooperate.

The pattern was a string of emotional and physical assaults that frightened me. That was followed by some kind of sexual advance that wasn’t forced, but the message was clearly that if I cooperated with it, I could have a break from the beatings and torment. That house eventually crumbled when the safety I earned by submitting to sexual treatment didn’t last very long.

My house of sticks was not much different than my house of straw. Sticks, after all, are not much stronger than straw. My house of sticks was made of indulgence. I was starting to develop and had no problems finding peers who were interested in the things I knew how to do. I could recognize others like myself, others who had the knowledge, others who gained their knowledge the way I had.

People would be shocked to know of the sexual behavior that happens among children. When I was a child, there was a whole network of things going on at ages that most people probably don’t experience. Not everyone was involved. I’d say that not even most were involved. Enough were involved to make it possible to find someone when you wanted to.

In my grade school, there were at least four boys my age, not including me, who were sexually involved with each other and each of them were involved with other boys that we didn’t know about as a group. Probably most sleepovers are harmless. Ours weren’t.

This house of sticks didn’t provide any direct safety from my abuser. What it provided for me was a means of comfort and an opportunity to be away from the family, and therefore, away from him. As with my house of straw, this eventually crumbled as I plunged into sexual addiction.

My abuser left my life as I approached an early puberty. Yet, the big, bad wolf was still around. It turns out, my abuser was merely an agent. Evil itself was the big, bad wolf, and I was exposed and helpless to its predation. It was time for a new house.

My house of bricks, or stones, and mortar, came as I began to apply all of the things I was learning in my study of the gospel. It had been about three years since I stopped going to church when I started reading the scriptures. I considered myself too lost for it to be applicable to me, but I was interested in what I was missing.

The more I read, the more hope I had that maybe I was not too far gone. I resolved to try, but the building of it was a lot of hard work. I was frequently discouraged and resorted to indulgence often. Eventually, through prayer, I got my house of bricks done, and it was enough to discourage the big, bad wolf.

The most important thing in the sturdiness of my house is the cornerstone, as described by the apostle Paul:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19–22).  

All buildings needs some maintenance, even the ones that are built to last. I would not be honest if I didn’t admit that once in a while, I think of putting a stick or two in to patch up a problem. I think that some part of me reasons that the house will still be mostly built of brick, so a stick here and there wouldn’t hurt, right? Wrong!

I need my house strong. The big, bad wolf is still out there, waiting for some weak point in the structure to exploit. I would rather he huff and puff to no avail.

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4 Responses to “Straw, Sticks, and Bricks”

  1. Duck said:

    It would have been helpful for those of us who have also been abused to know the nature of your post. Gees. Talk about a trigggering post. Please think twice next time before you post so many details.

  2. | Drug Rehab News said:

    […] Springs Of Water » Straw, Sticks, and Bricks By Rex Goode  As with my house of straw, this eventually crumbled as I plunged into sexual addiction. My abuser left my life as I approached an early puberty. Yet, the big, bad wolf was still around. It turns out, my abuser was merely an agent. … Springs Of Water – http://www.springsofwater.com/blog/ […]

  3. Duck said:

    Thanks for putting up what the artcile was about. That was helpful. Duck

  4. Rex Goode said:

    Actually, that was always there. It was just at the bottom of the article and on the summary page, at the bottom of the summary. I just moved it to the top where it was more obvious.

    I still wonder. I was abused but it doesn’t trigger me to read about others’ abuse. Having been in groups a lot, I’ve heard a lot of different stories. I’m still wondering exactly what you found so triggering. I’m just wanting to see if I need to do something differently.

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