Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

You know what we did for most of the day yesterday? We made a fence.

We need to make our fence in order to give our livestock more room to roam. The current enclosure is getting a little tight and they need space in order to thrive.

But we want to keep the animals safe, and also keep them from getting into things they shouldn’t get in to.

Because we’ve thought about the consequences of no fencing and we see it leading to destruction.

I was thinking about the need for boundaries in our lives this morning and looked up where the phrase, “Good fences make good neighbors” originated. Turns out it is mentioned in a Robert Frost poem called Mending Wall (but it certainly existed prior to him writing it down).

I read Mending Wall and have been pondering the various applications to my thoughts:

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offence…”

I found out yesterday that another CC community in my area is closing. That makes six confirmed closures so far this spring. There is no official response from team leadership except that it “looks to be a pruning year” – even my own community members who have reached out to the team lead and asked for direction about what the next step in the plan looks like are getting no response.

The wall of communication is high and nothing is crossing. “Before I build a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offence…”

“He likes the thought of it so well he says it again, ‘Good fences make good neighbours.'”

Yesterday I saw a comment on Facebook that illustrated the freedom of stepping out of leadership in a corporate structure that had caused stress in her marriage as her attention was divided between the good of the organization and the good of her home.

There was a string of replies to that statement of people who have allowed their love of an organization to overtake their ability to love lavishly on their family. It sneaks up on you… this desire to serve and succeed and then suddenly you realize you aren’t loving lavishly on the ones who are closest to you.

The wall of protection around a family against the time commitments that creep in should be high. “Good fences make good neighbors.”

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, and spills the upper boulders in the sun; and makes gaps even two can pass abreast… The gaps, I mean, no one has seen them made or heard them made, but at spring mending-time we find them there.”

While I was working yesterday, putting slats in the chain link fencing, I had time to think. Think about what I will do differently because it’s “spring mending-time” in our life.

Because good fences make good neighbors and boundaries are healthy and good. There’s joy in knowing what belongs to you and what belongs to someone else.

Because I’m identifying what needs to be OUT and what needs to be IN. And those values are being defined by my own family, rather than someone else’s perspective and values.

Because I care about our family and am weary of the nonsense that results from people not telling the whole story truthfully. I don’t need to live a life of weariness and concern about what fresh, hellish surprise awaits me next due to someone else’s decisions.

I’m thinking about the folks who have stepped into leadership to serve others as best as they can and lost their identity in the process. I am analyzing how to lead better, how to lead with integrity, so that I can support myself and others in the quest to keep in their rightful places.

I realize this is a disjointed post today and I apologize for the lack of continuity. I find that I have all of these thoughts about walls and boundaries and they’re swirling around with my emotions that come when I think of these communities of people who are hurting because their reason d’etre for community has shifted, because they feel like the wind has been knocked out of them.

Thanks for sticking with me today and I’ll do my best to be more coherent and have a point in future posts.

Until then, my thought is to Mind the gaps, friends. It’s spring time. Look for the gaps and repair your fences.

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