Sunday, August 24, 2014

8/25/14—Checking The Fence For Holes

The whole section of fence behind those trees is missing and nobody noticed!
After a two-week rest, I finally have something to say. 

Some of you may know that my fence has been undergoing a two-year long rebuilding at the hands of my neighbor. He didn't use pre-fab anything. He built it all one rail at a time. Last year he rebuilt the span between our properties and recently he built the shorter front span...the part with the gate. 

Last weekend he had two guys out to set new posts about three feet in front of the existing front part of the fence. That way, I'd still have the old fence to contain my pooches and he could build independently of worry about them. At one point last week, my neighbor removed a section of the old fence, so essentially, six feet of the old fence was gone, offering a possible escape route for the dogs. In reality, everything was locked up tight. But I thought for sure that the dogs would see the missing section of fence and run into it, checking out the alleyway between the fences for critters, sniffing the new fence and hunting for possible escape routes. But they didn't. 

At no point in the week that this fence opening existed did Kizzie or Mystic even approach the opening. The only reason Magick Moonbeam went back there is because I was so shocked that nobody was checking it out that I picked her up and placed her in the alleyway. In fact, even odder, when my neighbor was working on the fence with the dogs out in the yard, Mystic and Magick would run to their usual peeking holes in the old fence to see what they could see—peeking holes that weren't 6" away from the six foot opening that they were, for some reason, not acknowledging was there! They could have run right up to my neighbor to check it out, but they stayed inside the fence they knew.

I've been thinking about this all week. It's not uncommon when people are held captive that they begin to identify with and trust their captors. This is known as Stockholm Syndrome. Alongside this, some of these kidnapped girls we hear about say there were opportunities for escape and, because of fear or conditioning or whatever, they didn't take the opportunity. So I started thinking...where in my life have fences been torn down and new avenues built yet I, nonetheless, stay within the confines I've always known? What opportunities for "escape" am I letting pass me by because I've resigned myself to a situation?

The more I thought about this, the more self-limitation that was revealed to me. I'll bet you could find at least one—if not many—ways in which this applies to you, too. We get so used to the roadblocks, limitations, obstacles and, let's face it, excuses that bind us, that we don't recognize salvation when it comes.  

At my age I know a lot of people who worry about ageism, so they stay within the confines of their current job, fearing that nobody will hire them at their "advanced age." While some of this may be true, some of it's not. In fact, if you look at statistics, the lowest unemployment rates exist in the 45-54 and Over 55 categories. And the rates in those categories have dropped over the past year. In fact, the 45-54s realized the sharpest drop in unemployment of all the groups in the past year. So someone is hiring the old farts! What you don't want to be is 16 going on 17 or a new college graduate. In fact, a surprising aspect of the Bureau of Labor Statistics findings is that the very people we worry about taking our jobs—those 25-34 years old—seem to have more trouble finding work than anyone else over 25. So this is an example of how the fences we build around our lives aren't really as confining as we think.

Today, the old fence came down in my yard and the dogs went to to explore their new reality. They were unimpressed. They have a few more feet in which to play. But for them, there's still a with fewer peeking holes. Nothing significant has changed. They're still trapped in mommy's evil little web. But at least they finally explored the possibility of a different outcome.

Where might there be an opening in your life that you haven't noticed? What is unsatisfactory enough that you would look again for an escape route, even though you've decided none exist? And where might you find that the only obstacle to progress in your life in your life is you? Sometimes the routine feels safer than change, even if you hate the routine. But that doesn't mean it's the best choice for us to make. 

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