Boundaries

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No matter how much open space is provided for our horses to roam, they sometimes feel the need to test the boundaries…. they must have them, not only for our sakes, but for their own safety. Day in and day out they graze in the same area, come in to be fed at the same time every day, and know our voices when called. Then there are the “other” days.. when they are sure the grass is greener somewhere else, just beyond the place they are supposed to be. They are well-behaved animals for the most part, and usually don’t cause too much trouble. They know their boundaries, but sometimes they are just a little too tempted to venture out of their safety zone. They are curious about what lies beyond this space and can’t resist the taste of the undisturbed green pasture.

How many times do we wander just the same? A new space, a new friend, a new place to visit for a while. There is so much to explore not only for these lovely creatures, but for us as a curious people. So we venture out, beyond what is routine, put ourselves out there, hoping to graze in a fresh open space. For the most part? we gain something… something new that breaks the day in day out ritual. So we test the boundaries, grasping the good stuff along the way and making the most of a new adventure.

I have found this to be true so many times in relationships.. I have some really great ones, an awesome circle of friends and family. They have been constant, a safe zone – no need to set boundaries, I know and trust this circle. It is where I am most comfortable in any season of my life. These are my treasures, my fields of fresh grass, and I have no need for flagging them off with orange ribbons.

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These friends corral around me regardless of the sunny skies or storms that occur. If one is out-of-place? I am pretty sure I am aware of it. Sometimes, they wander a little close to the outside fence, doing their own thing but never feeling the need to totally leave my space. They are all different in personalities, quirks and issues, yet they choose to stay. Good friends and family that know me, but love me anyway! They notice when I linger to close to the outside fence… they see when I am needing to be led back safely for my own good. That’s what you do for those you love.. you keep them safe, and you encourage them when they need it most and remind them why the boundaries are important.

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Boundaries are healthy, but they are a lot of work. It would have been so much easier to just let the fence go, tend to it another day, but I’m sure it would have cost something more in the long run. I am learning to appreciate boundaries so much more these days. I am hard pressed to set them at times, but sometimes they are necessary. I would rather impose fences than walls, since walls are often too permanent. So, I set boundaries, place my flags accordingly and respect the reasons they are there.

boundaries4Not everyone is capable of setting boundaries, fence boundaries are much more compassionate than stringing barbed wire – that’s something entirely different – painful with the intention of causing harm. What kind of boundary would you prefer?  Choose wisely my friends, that kind of boundary is a double-edged hurt – you are sure to be on the giving and receiving end of it.

“Good fences make good neighbors”

– Robert Frost
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A Story Behind the Sale

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Lazy Saturday mornings mean yard sales and flea market adventures for us. I like to look at everything, whether I am buying or not. I definitely don’t like to have a yard sale myself. I enjoy more talking than I do selling my junk anyway. I’ve never been one capable of selling anyone anything… school fundraisers, down to girl scout cookies my Dad would end up selling for me. He could sell an Eskimo an ice-cube.. literally.

This particular yard sale adventure stayed with me the entire day. I browsed things I didn’t really need.. passed on buying things I had no room for. Somewhere in between? I met some folks, exchanged light hearted conversations and mainly went on my way. My husband found a replacement for a basket I had lost which was a great find being that it was a nicer one than I had originally. The lap tray and basket was amongst the items being sold to make money for a long-awaited missions trip. How could I not pass that up? The book was a quarter.. I gave him a dollar, although I already had read it.. and have the movie? who cared? I’ll find a use for both. Books and more books,  know they get tired of waiting on me to dig through stacks of books and they usually end up walking ahead of me out of boredom. It was a small sale..but bigger implications.

The next table was full of stuff I didn’t need, but I look anyway and say hello. I notice the hand crocheted potholders. What I notice is the stitch – the “shell” pattern that I had watched my mother crochet more times than I could count. I used to be able to do it myself, but over the years had forgotten. The woman was older and friendly and told me they were .50 each. I sifted through the colors and noticed there were many to choose from. I told her that I knew the work that had gone into them, and they were very well made… then came her story.

“My sister is a Nun and makes these for me… I send her the yarn and she divides them amongst the convent and they make as many as they can.” She goes further to tell me that she had another sister.. a twin that had recently passed away with cancer. “I’m so sorry” I replied. She pauses long enough to gather her thoughts to continue that she made her sister a promise that she would look after her children as much as she could. By this time, I am noticing that this is not just a sale..this is a stolen moment in my day that I can’t walk away from.

I am thankful for my sunglasses as I notice her lip starts to tremble. This woman has no idea that I will cry like a drop and roll fire drill. She tells me that she sells the items to keep her promise to her sister and help her nieces and nephews as much as possible. The potholders were more at that moment than yarn, they were treasures… a kind soul keeping her word to make a difference despite her loss.

I could hardly tell my husband the story walking to the car (thankfully, he knows I will cry easily) after I told him, he said you never know what people deal with. “I would have bought them all” I said.. he lovingly reminded me I wasn’t capable of saving the world, even though I already knew it… but I do know that with every use of those potholders? the woman will be visible..her story..her grief.. and though she may not realize it? She made a difference to me, just because she shared her heart.

How many times have I rushed through my everyday, not noticing the obvious? People need hope…encouragement. EVERY day. I hope that I offered her some, although in a small amount? I will look for her again on my next trip… and the next. Another story behind a sale? It stayed with me the entire day. Never stop looking for treasure…. sometimes it’s not in words, but in something as simple as even a potholder.