“Some of us may just, in one-on-one conversations with our family, with our friends, over the back fence with our neighbors, talk about the reality of our lives and realize that we’re not alone.” –Patricia Ireland
If we could only see the irrationality of a fence
We would soon come to know what complete nonsense
It is to think that we could hold close inside
Behind a gate those things we wish to hide.
Or that sharp pickets fail to defend
Against relationships we do not wish to mend.
So break the lock, open wide the gate
Reach out, reach in for those that wait.
– by Trish Hernandez (2014)
Fences…everyone builds them. Some put up a fence to keep things out and some to keep things in. We needed one to keep our small dogs safe and to give them a little space of their own. It was one of the first things completed after we moved in to GraceStone Sanctuary.
Putting up a fence isn’t easy work…all that measuring and post hole digging; then setting the posts, attaching rails, and finally nailing up the pickets one by one. It is tedious hard labor. And no matter what the purpose of the fence, someone always comes along and leaves the gate open so that very thing that you were trying to keep in or out gets through anyway.
It makes me think about our own internal fences we create as an attempt at protecting ourselves. We go to great lengths to put up borders between us – huge privacy fences surround our hearts so no one can see our wounds. Long clanging metal chain link provides a strong barrier against further hurts and vulnerability. Even sharp pickets painted bright white send a pointed message of “keep away”. Out here in the Shenandoah Valley long rail fences run alongside highways. They mark territory. “This is mine”, they say. “Keep Out!”
Fences do often serve a purpose. But what if we took a look at our inside barricades that keep us apart from one another? What would happen if we once-and-for-all opened the latch on the gate of our heart and gave – fully, vulnerably, without fear? I believe that it could be a beginning of honest conversations about the real things we have in common. We may just discover we are not alone.
If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com