Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Tearing Down Our Fences
Before the fence came down, I wonder if my neighbors realized that I hang white orbs in my tree for no purpose other than I like them.

After standing tall for three decades, our six foot cedar backyard fence has finally earned its rest. Earlier this week, our work crew came in and got cranking, which of course means that they first demolished the whole wobbly affair. Our fence died a brave death and surely went to Valhalla.
I'm sorry to say that I have quite a few bald patches in my yard. Gracie's piddle does not agree with the grass. Bet my neighbors didn't see that eyesore coming. 

Because the fence lives on our side of the property line, that means that we are the ones responsible for arranging the work. Though they will definitely benefit from the new fence and peacefully agreed to share in its cost,  my three backyard neighbors have had very little say in the whole affair. Actually, none at all. 

So when the workers showed up on Monday and began sawing away and carting off the old broken-down beast, the neighbors had no choice but to grin and bare it.
Since I knew the fence crew would be working throughout the back yard, I moved all my outdoor furniture onto the relatively neutral patio space. To anyone who isn't privy to my thinking, it must look quite a disorderly jumble. 

And I do mean bare it. Never have I had such unobstructed views into my neighbors' private spaces so I was not prepared for what I saw. 

Let's just say there was more mess and clutter than I expected.

And at first, I got a little judgy. 

Huh. Who knew these people were such slobs, right? 

But with flaming cheeks, I quickly realized my mistake. I'm the one who tore down their fences; I'm the one who put their private spaces on semi-public display, without even stopping to ask if that was okay. 

Who am I to shame them for what I caused them to reveal?
And yes, I do have a giant purple trellis standing out in the middle of my yard. It will go back into its corner once the fence is done, but for now, it looks ridiculous.

As I mulled over my outrageous hypocrisy, I wondered if I might have stumbled onto a metaphor.

In a matter of a week or two, our nation - our entire world - has demolished the longstanding walls of careful silence around race, and opened up new spaces for conversations about some previously guarded topics like white privilege, systemic racism, allyship, and protest.

And if we - the people asking for these conversations, demanding that the old silences be broken, tearing down these walls - criticize our brothers and sisters for how they respond to this new openness, well, then maybe that's just as judgmental as me turning up my nose at my neighbors' plastic clutter, weedy gardens, and unswept patios. 

Rather than judge anyone for where they stand on matters of race, whether they are ready to tear down the system tomorrow, or still coming to terms with the idea that they're looking at the world through white-colored glasses, I respect their journey.

Because the only journey worth taking is the one that we all take together. 

Together, with my brothers and sisters of all colors, I hope and pray that we can build a world where we can respect one another, forgive each other our trespasses, and live in neighborly peace

That's what I'm dreaming of. 

And while I realize that in this process we all may be revealing things that aren't too pretty,  I'm glad we are finally tearing down our fences.
Uh and then there's this corner. When I look at my yard from my neighbors' point of view, I guess I've got a little junk in my own trunk that I need to deal with, too. I'm glad they are giving me grace. 

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