Fences

In southern California where I was raised,  all the backyards in my neighborhood were fenced. Neighbors didn’t traipse through your back yard; if they had business with you, they had to come to the front door and knock.  I came from a home that was “invitation only” – and invitations were few and carefully issued. But I married into a culture where neighbors and friends stop by without notice, just to say “hi”.

When we married, my husband and I began our own open-door policy. Anyone and everyone is welcome anytime. “It’s our home, but it’s God’s house,” my husband is fond of saying.

In the same way, I like to have an open-door policy to my heart. I enjoy those deeper conversations where  we can poke through the cupboards of our lives and draw things out that were hiding behind the outdated spices and bottle of toothpicks.  In his book, “The Jesus-Centered Life”, Rick Lawrence describes following Jesus this way: “Now my soul has what you might call an open floor plan. Jesus has permission to walk around in my de-compartmentalized life, messing with my stuff and showing up at all hours of the day, in all situations.”

I think this should be the normal Christian life; when each of us is FOR each other, supportive and encouraging, helping each other reach into our dark places, and leaving cupcakes of blessing behind when we go. We can give each other access to our hearts because we have first given Jesus access. But sadly, these kinds of relationships are few. Even in marriage it is rare. We prefer the security of our fences and the familiarity of loneliness, because we’ve discovered that it’s not always safe to open yourself up to someone. Still, I welcome the voice of a friend at the door of my soul calling, “Anybody home?”.

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