Standing at the fence.... What to do when you find yourself there...

Growing up in a tiny town of a couple of thousand people in the foothills of the Cascades there was not much for entertainment. My dad, the...

Growing up in a tiny town of a couple of thousand people in the foothills of the Cascades there was not much for entertainment. My dad, the project person that he is decided he really wanted to buy a pool for our family. He looked and searched and found one in the paper for sale. It was one of those pools with metal sides and a liner. It was 4 foot deep and 24 foot wide and it was cheap! The trick was that it was sitting in someones backyard and needed to be taken down, cleaned and painted. He brought it home and we scrubbed the liner and stripped the paint on all of the metal parts, repainted it all and put it up. He also built a deck around it so we could jump off the edge and land cannon balls right in the pool. We loved it! And the neighbors did too. Our summers were spent in the pool and we had instant friends almost on a daily basis. Next door lived a family with 4 children. The oldest son, who was about 10 at the time, would stand at our fence which consisted of field fencing and say " boy it sure is hot out here", "I wonder what it would be like to cool off in that nice pool?"
 It was funny because our house was not near the fence. My family lived on 8 acres of land. So the fence was far away from our house. I would see him randomly standing at the fence from our back porch and wonder. What is he doing out there? As I got closer, I would hear the familiar "boy, it sure is hot out here! I bet I could cool off in the pool." It took me back. I would think what am I supposed to do about this? It would make me uncomfortable, I was forced to hear, and see the "need". Maybe I didn't want him to come over. Maybe I was busy. Sometimes, I confess I would ignore him and just go inside the house so I would not have to hear him. I would reason in my head, he should just ask me like a "normal" person. He could just come up to my door and knock on the door and ask, "can I swim in your pool today?" and I would say "sure!" But no such common request came. It was always at a distance, yelling out awkwardly a weather report and how the weather was made for swimming.
I have often thought of this young boy, that summer and that pool. Of the fence that was between us and the awkward comments that were tossed over the fence. Sometimes as adults we can be just like that boy. Attempting to get someone's attention. Having a need yet people just avoid, and ignore because they don't know what to do. I have had several such things happen in my life. I have reached out at different times and actually have taken risks and told people what my needs were. Made myself vulnerable in a floundering way. Probably said it in a way that made the other person feel uncomfortable just as the young boy did to me. I have been ignored, just as I ignored that boy, I have had people say "well I think I get enough time with you already". One time when I actually told someone straight up that I needed friendship they completely ignored what I said and went on to say "well, you have a sister right? you probably would spend more time with her right?"
Which I love my sister and I do spend time with her but I was craving a friendship outside of my relationship with my sister.
So what do we do when we find ourselves standing at the fence, attempting to make our needs known and it seems that no one is listening. No one is really hearing the cry of our heart because all they can feel is the roughness of our words. Words that rub them like sandpaper and make them wish they were not hearing us, just like I wished I was not hearing that young boy. When I have found myself at "the fence", I have learned that not everyone can hear the words or meet the need.
Humans.... are..... limited
 The only one who is not surprised by our words or feelings that come spilling out is Jesus.
 He always knows us, he is so familiar with us that in the times we may be feeling pain and loneliness he is not disturbed or frightened or worried. So when I find myself at "the fence" I offer my words to Him.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
 that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
I John 5:14

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee



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Cindy Fincher: Standing at the fence.... What to do when you find yourself there...
Standing at the fence.... What to do when you find yourself there...
Cindy Fincher
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