Fences are for protection. They help you hold precious things in a safe enclosure.
There is a lot to be said about fences. They help you to chalk out territory and instill a feeling of safety and protection in you. It helps define a framework and gives a feeling of freedom within the boundary. The fence begins to serve as an anchor helping to prevent straying. It shows how valuable the fenced in item is… since we make an effort to preventing it from running away.
Domestic animals like Horses, cattle, chicken, pigs and sheep are fenced in to prevent them from going out… and to prevent those outside (predators) from going in.
What gets my goat (pun not intended), is when people fence their spirits in. Where do they think their spirit will run away to..? Oh that…! Yes… I guess one day the spirit will go back home. But that day no fence will be able to hold it, will it?
Have you wondered what’s worse than being imprisoned…? Worse than being imprisoned is for you to crawl into a prison and voluntarily wear shackles. We would never do something that daft you say..? Stay with me for a few minutes please… let us examine evidence.
When we begin life, God gives us an unlimited pristine while canvas on which to paint a masterpiece. He gives us all the colors of the world. He lets us choose our brushes and knives. He opens up a vibrant universe for us to take inspiration from. Above all, he gives us a lifetime to do the job. All He wants is for us to make something beautiful. He tells us there are no limits. He smiles at us, happy to see us excited. And we are very excited, we can’t wait to begin. God tells us how sure He is of us, how much he trusts and believes in us. We believe in ourselves too. We know we will create a masterpiece. God leaves us alone, loath to be in our face hovering. He lets us have our space- just as a benevolent father should.
At last we are alone with our canvas. Our palette, brushes and colors are waiting. We step outside ourselves and take in the loveliness of the universe around us. We let its vitality throb in our heart. The pure joy of living rises in our soul like the bubbles in a glass of celebration champagne. Yanni’s Love for life begins its merry dance in our veins. We stand at the threshold of all that is possible on earth. We are young, full of confident, eager dreams.
Our euphoria creates bold, daring images in our eyes. Nothing is impossible. The universe waits with bated breath. It is willing- nay eager- to have us astound it with our creation. It wants to be astounded- knowing another dimension will be added to its vastness with what we create. We visualize a riot of forms, textures and designs and lose ourselves in a trance of joyous reverie. We experience bliss. The first time a hesitant, trembling, doubtful thought creeps in, we shoo it away with outraged indignation. Once the vision is clear, we are ready to begin. We look at the virginal beautiful canvas. Then we remember the only rule God gave us.
We are not allowed to erase anything…!
Panic… ugly shameful panic…!! What the..!? What if I goof up…?!?
“Can I get another canvas if I ruin this one Lord..?”
“No child. This is all you get.”
“Will I have to stay with that self-created mess for all eternity, Lord..?”
“Yes child, you will… but…”
“Cripes..! Then I had better take a peek at the way other spirits have done it to get ideas on what to do. I’ll begin at the corner of the canvas. I’ll start with something very minute so that even if it get smudged badly, it won’t make too much of a difference. At least I won’t create a mess.”
We don’t notice that God has turned away from us in disappointment. In our panic, we don’t wait for him to finish. He knows our paradigm is no longer creating beauty- it is avoiding a mess. He shakes his head sadly at the thought of so much potential thrown away.
What do they call it… the Japanese..? Harakari…? What a messy process… and painful to boot..!!
We decide to play small. We take a pair of scissors and go chop-chop on our untested, never used wings. We build a cage around us, climb into its cramped confines with our unlimited canvas and colors. We bind our spirit voluntarily and throw away the keys of our shackles.
When we restrict and bind our spirit, we bind a lot more along with it. We bind and choke the dreams the spirit could have woven. We bind the lives the dream was supposed to touch. Indirectly, we bind the universe. We forbid the universe from seeing the splendor we had the potential to create. A splendor which was to be created only by us… through us… by means of our spirit.
We tell ourselves we will do this and not do this. We have protective rules and limiting beliefs. In one stroke we go from free to fenced in. In other words, we have restrictions. We create this tight little enclosure and fence it up. Actually, little or large doesn’t really matter. The operative word here is TIGHT. It pleases us. The tight I mean. It gives a fabulous feeling of being in control. Which is so necessary, if you want to play GOD… isn’t it…?
It is not a static fence we build. It is a constantly shrinking fence. Every time we have a set-back, someone steps on our toes and hurts us, we up the stakes and shrink our territory some more. The posts of that fence are made up of thing we MUST NOT DO. These are the rules and interpretations that control our life. New rules are created in response to painful events. The barbed wire on these posts are the emotional acid released in the wake of disappointments. We never realize that the ever shrinking area is our potential for creating joy and happiness in our life.
The process of shrinking happens very fast for some of us. For some of us, there even comes a day when all we have is the area just under our feet.
You know what is the cruelest thing on earth..? It is to see a free spirit soaring. You have just shrunk your area some more, are chafing badly and are at war with the world. You are wondering how you will give up the space under your feet next time something happens. At THAT moment, to see a beautiful canvas, to see the radiant creator of the canvas stand at the full height of his intended stature- that hurts. It hurts deep into the soul.
The emotion that slams into your teeth is not envy, it is a hopeless regret mixed with a deep and abiding shame.
The question you ask yourself in pain is: Why did I throw my life away…?
The ruthlessly honest answer your spirit will give you is: Because you were afraid of making a mess of it. There are no blotches of paint and dirty black smudges on your canvas. It is pristine clean. Yet it is a mess… because you failed in your purpose. You were to paint a masterpiece. Keeping your canvas unused is an insolent slap in the face of the One who gave you that canvas. You have shamed yourself, and you have shamed Him.
You then wish you hadn’t taken a peek at the canvasses of others and permit them to put a limit on your potential. You wish you hadn’t taken counsel of your fears and had not permitted them to stop you from doing what you wanted to do. You wish you hadn’t been so petrified of a few blotches and smudges. You wish you had realized that even the smudges of error and the blotches of mistakes have a place in the masterpiece you will create. After all, everyone knows that black makes the colors stand out like nothing else can. When one looks at a masterpiece, one would look at the colorful figures and never notice the black in the background. You wish you had dared to let your spirit free and given wings to your fancy. You wish you had remembered that you can always paint your canvas black and begin all over again. You wish your paradigm had never been avoiding a mess, only of creating a masterpiece. You wish you had remembered that mess is irrelevant to the canvas of life.
The canvas is still there in front of you. Your colors are waiting and you see the big pot of black…? Your brushes and palettes are waiting to be taken up again. The universe is waiting joyously for your contribution to its vibrant mosaic. Lives are waiting to be touched and blessed… beginning with your own.
And there are no fences… there never were.