Neighbors: Refusing Fences

Robert Frost once wrote “good fences make good neighbors.”

That line gets me every single time. Gets me so riled up that when I see a fence, I cringe. Thanks, Frost. Your message hit home.

Chain-Link-Fence

For me, the white picket fence has never been an image of perfection.

It’s a fence. A divide. A wooden or stone or chain link message of ‘You’re there. I’m here. Let’s keep it that way.’

I remember mourning the loss of a shared backyard with my next-door neighbors when I was younger. It used to be so easy to flit back and forth between our homes. The fence changed things.

I was persistent, though; pulled myself up and over knotted pine. Knocked out a post once. Tore a sweater twice. Me and the fence never got along that well.

I suppose some separation and privacy is good, but at the cost of losing ourselves in our own little bubbles, is it worth it?

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Maybe this question is the answer: Do you know your neighbors?

Their names? Their dog’s name? What they do for a living? What they believe?

Do we reflect His kingdom in the way we live and love each other?

Looking back on my 23 years, I confess that I haven’t known many of my neighbors.

Take away excuses of time, uncertainty, awkwardness. How hard is it to knock on someone’s door and say, “Hi. I’m your neighbor” ?

Wilson_fence

There are no fences in the place where I currently dwell. There are doors and walls that separate us, which might as well be fences. But there are ways around them. I nudge myself out there with a plate of cookies, stop to talk about baby showers and ask about life on a 30-second elevator ride.

I do these things because I want to know them. Take away a wall or a fence and they’re right there, living their beautiful lives a mere 20 feet away from mine.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Well, I like love. Neighbors, I hope you like love, too.

Ethnicity, profession, height, weight, income – those things mean nothing. If you’re alive, you deserve love. You were created in love, after all. So were your neighbors. All of them.

It turns out that I might be getting some new neighbors a few blocks down the way. It’s a group called “Right to Dream Too,” a tent city, if you will.

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Another confession. When I first heard about the movement of the camp, I was afraid. My thoughts turned to crime, loitering, would I feel safe walking around at night with these new neighbors?

The Spirit checked me before I could continue making my list of “what ifs” regarding the unknown.

Taylor, these are your neighbors. What does it matter if they have a house or not? These people, my children, are your neighbors.

Yes. They are my neighbors. They are my neighbors. When they move, I’ll be there to greet them, plate of cookies in hand. Same as I would do for any other new neighbor of mine.

Fence, you might as well not even be there. I’m coming, I’m loving, and no divide is going to stop me.

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