Lately on Saturdays I have been walking a route that is about four miles in length. I really like it because it is a square and I don’t have to go to the lake and walk the same path twice. I have a beginning and an end and get to see new landscape all the time on the walk / run. You see a lot of interesting things when you are walking, from different types of trash on the ground to so many different types of cars. I also notice buildings and specific types of businesses that I normally wouldn’t pay attention to but since I am walking they sort of spring up in front of me.
Today however I noticed something really sort of out of place. As came walking around a corner I noticed a fence to my left. The fence went as far as I could see in front of me and followed the sidewalk. I have walked this route about four or five times now and I had never really noticed the fence before. The most interesting part of the fence was the three rows of barbed wire that lined the top of the metal fence. I know I have never noticed that before because if I had I would of stopped in my tracks like I did today.
It was intriguing because I couldn’t remember what was so important on this street that it needed first of all a fence for protect but on top of that a barbed wire fence. I quickened my pace because I wanted to get to the entrance to see what it was that was so important that it required a mile of barbed wire. When I got there I just sort of laughed. It was a nursery. I don’t mean for kids, I mean it was an outdoor nursery with a greenhouse for plants, trees, and flowers. Really, I thought, a nursery with a barbed wire fence. Were people jumping the fence to steal trees or bushes? Was there a sudden run on flowers or manure that I didn’t know about?
What was so important about the nursery that they needed such a big fence topped with barbed wire? I thought about where it was and whether or not I felt like the street or the neighborhood would require such drastic measures. Looking around, I didn’t see where that would have been the issue. I think the people who own this business were just being protective. A little overprotective I think. I mean a fence is one thing but one that makes it look like a prison or army base. It just felt like a little too much.
As I continued to walk, I began to think about how we do the same thing. We often put up fences and become guarded when it comes to interacting with other people. It might be because we are shy by nature but most of the time it is because we have been hurt by people or certain situations. When we put up those fences in life with the barbed wire at the top we are keeping people out. We are keeping out everyone from the people that would hurt us to the people that love us.
I think we need to be careful about those fences we put up. I understand why we put them up to protect ourselves from people’s thoughts, words, and deeds. We probably should be guarded sometimes when we put up our fences, but do we really need the barbwire at the top? If we act like the nursery and put up such tough security then we are never letting people in and that may cause us to miss out on a lot of life.
So my suggestion is this, put up the fence if you need to, but make it a wooden fence with a bunch of gates and no barbed wire. Allow there to be opportunity to let people in when you really get to know them. Don’t shut out the world. Don’t be so inner focused that you miss out on what God’s world has to offer you. Open the gate, let people in and then maybe just maybe they will help you to take down the fence. Then you can sell your fence to the nursery because obviously they are extremely worried about someone stealing the manure.