He took me to two different parks in the area to illustrate his point. They were school parks. One had a very high fence all the way around it. The other had no fence. They were about equally close to the roads near them and they were both covered with grass. The patterns of wear in the grass were noticeably different, however, as were the amount of balls lying in the grass. The park with a high fence all the way around it had worn grass all the way up to and especially nearest the fence, and no balls lying outside where no one could play with them. The other park had worn grass only in the center of the park and several deflated balls around. Boundaries. Boundaries can provide freedom.
This idea made so much sense to me that I have really taken it to heart. Part of that is why I do consider myself a Christian though I do not subscribe to several of the ‘base tenets’ of church Christianity. I enjoy the freedom to play with all the blurry lines inside the larger framework. When I work with kids who have behavioral problems, I know that they feel safe with very firm lines and tons of freedom inside them. In conversation, it draws a distinct line between playful and hurtful.
For the first time in my life, playing unencumbered within very strict limits made everything better. It made every aspect of my life better, having these fences up. I have way less anxiety. I have a much more vibrant faith. My husband feels much less uneasy. There’s no confusion. It really did allow a rising tide to lift all boats. The happier I became in those bounds the happier I became as a whole person. The idea of freedom from fences, is not one of liberation for me. I don’t want to give up my faith, my husband, my honesty for someone else’s comfort. Like a swaddle, it wraps around every person in a different way. It fits me perfectly. It makes me comfortable, and there is no person that it fits the exact same way. Just because we live in an industrialized, mass market culture doesn’t mean everything needs to come in a standard size.