I’m sitting here waiting on mom’s morning call and listening to one of the kids across the dirt road calling their dog. They’ve been out there for the last fifteen minutes or so calling. I know that it hasn’t come over this way because Molly would have lost her mind and she hasn’t. She is however right outside the door grumbling because Bella is inside and she isn’t.
The thing is though, if they could install fencing, or even get a kennel, then this child wouldn’t be out there calling almost desperately for Miya. But, those are apartments and the management of said apartments may not allow them to have the kennels and definitely won’t do fencing. So this child, whose parents have no understanding of leash laws, is calling for Miya. Miya is a young dog and they do tend to wander. My hope is that she didn’t wander to the main highway.
My front yard is fenced, it has been for the last thirty years. We installed it because our son as a toddler, loved to roam. Toddlers are worse than puppies in disappearing quickly. Example? One day the local volunteer fire department was doing fundraising and a member came to the house to ask for donations. They no longer do that, but at that time they did. As I was writing a check, my son decided to take advantage and run barreling around the house toward the woods. The volunteer and I both took off like a shot to chase him down. He was quick, but we caught him. So fence it was, and it worked.
We have had quite the variety of dogs as members of the family through the years. Most times the fence worked, sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes, it was a dividing line between do I want to stay inside or go play outside? We had a pair of collies who could open the gate no matter what we tried and go play in the creek to come back and wait on someone to let them back in. My Bella respects barrier of all types- most of the time. Molly, barrier? What barrier?
For a while when my son was young, we had an above ground swimming pool. Every time when we were out there and a car would drive by on the dirt road, the people in the car would stare as if they had never seen such before. We installed a privacy fence between the pool and the road. Privacy now protected.
That’s all nice you think, but is there a point to this Rose Nylund type story? (Character from Golden Girls)
Actually, yes, I do have a point. Fences have two purposes, to keep things inside, and to keep things outside.
Keeping it inside, and not just the kids and pets.
Events in life can and often does, cause some to construct fences as a form of self preservation. Holding inside the fears, the hurts, the anguish created by circumstances endured. Seeking to protect the parts of them which are left, while attempting to heal the injured. Hiding within, fearing that if anyone found out, they would consider them as weak and vulnerable.While often, the opposite is true. When the victim faces down their attacker and wins, they are strong. When the hurt faces their pain, and overcomes, their are strong. When the victim, realizes that sometimes, they need help in facing and defeating the pain and its causes, that is not weak, that is understanding of themselves and strength.
Building fences to create a sense of security and safety, is something that has gone on for ages. Not just the physical fence to protect people and property, or to keep animals secure. The fences to give security to emotions and the thoughts that tag along.
Fear of attack from those outside forces. The ones who seek to strengthen their status, by diminishing the status of others. The ones who think that inner strength, is not for everyone. Anxiety, relative of a sort to fear, but not always with a known cause. Judgements over lifestyle or beliefs. Lack of trust in those around us to treat us fairly and reasonably. Reasons longer than the Great Wall of China and often as difficult to overcome.So many hide behind what they have constructed, solid, strong, impenetrable. Until they choose to begin the process of tearing down the fences.
Keeping it outside.
The truth is, that keeping things outside, is not always good. Now, it is good that my physical fence keeps the neighbor’s dog away from my dogs. Their coming together would not be a good thing. The fence also keeps Molly out of my flowers meaning the flowers have a better chance at living.
But that physical fence, is also a point of separation between me and my neighbors. It is the same with emotions and social endeavors. We build that fence, unseen but obvious, when we go out into the world of people. Our body language many times very loud. Stay back, stay away, leave me alone. An attempt to protect, just as strong as the keeping things inside. When we refuse to interact with others, we are actually doing more harm to ourselves than protection. We are preventing ourselves from finding the good things, from finding and feeling the peace and joy that can and often does come from those around us. We miss the interactions that bring a sense of adventure to life. We miss the growth that can come from our learning and understanding of others. In trying to protect ourselves, we more often deny ourselves.
There are times when I am sure that we even realize this, but the fences we have constructed are too strong and tall. We then stand on the inside gazing out longingly at life going on, yet not willing to remove the first brick.
Thing is, as humans we are created to be social creatures. We crave interaction with others. We long for those times of togetherness when we can laugh at the silly things and enjoy the adventures. But, it may have been people, a brief interaction, a long term issue, that caused us to build the fence. How do we go about tearing that fence down and be brave enough to face whatever may come?
For myself and the fences I have built, the ones I seek daily to tear down and face what stands on the outside, I have found the strength in my faith. Being human, this is an ongoing struggle. The wall wasn’t built in a day, the bricks were put in place one at a time. So each brick’s reason, must be faced and dealt with. There are times I may even try to replace a brick that has been removed, but I face that yet again, remove it again and step forward. I have a lot of conversations with God and I know He hears. I know also He has great patience with me, as with anyone who faces similar struggles. In the end, once the walls and fences have fallen, life though not perfect, and not free from struggles, will be much more beautiful.