Learning to Love the Fence

Posted on | October 25, 2011 | 4 Comments

I’ve gotten in a bad habit lately of letting my dog out in the mornings to go to the bathroom.  In and of itself, that sounds like a reasonable way to start his day, but the fact is, I don’t have a fenced in yard.  Most days, my sweet older dog does his business in the back yard and moseys his way back to the porch when he’s finished.  Most days.

This morning, I let AJ out and made my coffee.  I got dressed for work and got J dressed.  When I returned to the porch to let the dog in… he wasn’t there.  I called for him.  I rattled a bag of treats.  I put on my shoes and marched down to the end of the driveway, calling angrily for him.

He did not come home.

I paused, regrouped, and tried again.  Still no AJ.  At this point, I began to panic.  I poured coffee in a travel mug, grabbed J and headed for the car… we would go and find him.  This wasn’t just any dog… this was MY dog.  About the time I had worked myself into a complete and total frenzy, I heard the familiar jingle of his collar and he sidled his way up the drive and to the porch like “What? I was busy.”

Message received.

So often I let things roam where they don’t belong.  I let my thoughts wander down paths they shouldn’t be on; I let my fears take hold and run me in six different directions of crazy.  So often I am out without a leash, out without control, out in the world with no filter and no way to find myself, much less my home.  This morning, my dog came home in his own time.  And I could take that as a sign that he will always come back.  I could mark that down as lesson learned and try not to freak out the next time he wanders off alone.

Or… and this is just an idea… or I could take this as an entirely different lesson all together.  I could look down at the trusting brown eyes of my sweet 13 year old dog and know that yes, he may always come back, but I am supposed to be taking care of him.  He counts on me to take care of him.  And if I say it’s okay for him to run around the neighborhood, then it must be okay.  It is my job to protect my dog… it is my job to get my lazy ass in a robe and slippers and take him outside to go to the bathroom even if it’s cold.

He counts on me. 

There are so many times lately when I’ve felt just like he must have felt this morning… I’ve felt like I’m running free, wind swept with the idea of not being fenced in, not being chained to anything.  I’ve felt like the world was a playground of sights and smells and I could be or do anything I wanted.  It’s a liberating feeling.  It’s freeing. 

It’s… frightening. 

When you can do or be anything in the world, how do you decide? When you have every option under the sun handed to you, how do you narrow it all down?

Sometimes, even when it doesn’t feel like it, we need fences for our own safety.  We need four solid walls saying “Here. Here is where you belong, here is where you are safe.”  We need a strong, guiding hand to pull us clear of the strange neighbor who has cactus all along his yard and a soft voice to remind us to heel or sit or wait out a moving car or frightened child. 

Lately in my life, I’ve been operating without a fence.  I’ve been spinning around wondering which of the thousand directions I should choose… and it’s not been serving me well.  It’s too much to take in.  It’s too much to process.  So I’m allowing myself to be reignined in, the way I should have reigned in my dog.  I’m going to listen to the soft, still voice in my ear that tells me to wait it out.  I’m going to let strong hands guide me to where I need to be because it is His job to do so. 

I am nothing more than a run away dog, it seems, and though I might always make my way home… it is a much safer journey if I let someone else lead the way.


4 Responses to “Learning to Love the Fence”

  1. Pippy08
    October 25th, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    Love this. Great post lady!

  2. MaconMom
    October 25th, 2011 @ 11:14 am

    Oh so true! Thanks!

  3. Allysha Woods
    October 25th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    wonderful post 🙂 sometimes it is a little thing that reminds you of the bigger picture in your life. hope you have a great day!

  4. Lola M.
    October 25th, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    Wow! You so nailed it for me today! I’ve been operating without a fence for four years and I’m ready to stay home. 🙂

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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