Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pleasant Boundaries

Growing up, I had neighborhood boundaries that marked the precise lot of land that I was free to roam. My world was squared in by a fence, a street, a sidewalk and the top of a hill. Within the boundaries were my house, my best friend's house, my bike-riding sidewalk, a yard to play tag, a porch to play Boxcar Children, and a green electric box to stand on and shout, "I'm QUEEN OF THE WORLD!" when my parents weren't watching.

I was content with three of my four boundary lines; I didn't have any real desire to cross the road or sidewalk or jump the fence. But one summer I grew a particular resentment towards the line that separated me and the hill. Despite my passionate plea, my parents failed to grant me an extension, and I was resigned to standing at the top and staring forlornly at it's exotic, descending enticements. My friends were overjoyed to exploit their liberty by running, skipping and rolling like barrels to the bottom while I watched.

Eventually I was allowed to go to the bottom of the hill, at which point I realized that my friends had been pretending to have a lot more fun than what the hill really had to offer. But I remained suspicious of boundaries and what they might be keeping me from, particularly boundaries like time and money that keep me from traveling more, giving more, and spending more time investing in more relationships. I understand boundaries that keep me from sin, but why are there constraints that keep me from good things in life?

Boundaries will always exist around the finite things in life such as time and money. But what I'm learning is that boundaries are necessary in order to explore the infinite within the finite.

I can introduce myself to every single person in my town, but I will never know my husband Pete all the way through.

I could visit every country in Europe, but I will never be able to experience and learn everything about Atrani, Italy.

I could give away every dollar that I make, but I will never get to the end of what it means to be generous.

I could roll like a barrel to the bottom of the hill, but I could never stop finding ways to play in my front yard.

Psalm 16:
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup.
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely, I have a delightful inheritance.


Samantha F. said...


Samantha F. said...

Hee hee. (Always pushed the boundaries, eek!)

Anonymous said...

you should write a book. a collection of your work. i'd buy it. in bulk. and pass it out to all my loved ones and people on the street.

i have been so encouraged in reading through this stuff. high five.

you don't know me by the way. but i'm not creepy mccreepster, a weirdo blog stalker. i promise. haha.

Sarah Barlow said...

Joy...I completely agree with HAVE to write a book!! 20 books at that!!! I could really read your work always! I love you!!