Don’t Fence Me In

Life and Happiness

As I contemplated my post from Friday, I began to look at life from a different perspective. I tried to envision how the world sees me. How God sees me. It is not, usually, at all how I see myself. And as I was contemplating this, I found this quote:

The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.
~ J. R. R. Tolkien

I felt a little, “Humph!” rise up in my chest when I read it. I’d been trying my hardest to fence out the world, to make sure there is nothing that can grieve me, hurt me, molest me, or damage my soul anymore than it already has, but I can’t. At least according to Tolkien.

The world continues spinning. People keep moving about us. Although I can shelter myself inside my home, I can only do so for so long. Admittedly, I can do so for longer than most. I have a job where I work from home. I have a husband who will fetch me things. I could stay locked up here for a pretty long time. But I also have obligations, responsibilities that I choose not to give up or feel, well, obligated to complete. My parents need me still. That requires leaving my home, venturing into the world, and interacting with people. I can’t fence those things out no matter how hard I try.

When we’re depressed or feeling low, we often think people don’t want to hear from us. The world has enough depressing tidbits, we want only happy, vibrant people with which to spend our time. Right? But last week, I let one of my friends into the struggle I’ve been dealing with. One friend. She listened and offered compassion. She is still my friend despite my negativity and foul mood.

Then I found this quote:

“It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”
~ Irish Proverb

Hmmm…. We can find shelter in one another? We can find life in these people? It seems very profound. Yet the Bible suggests the same thing:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
~ Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

It’s hard when depression rears its ugly head at us, but, I think, we cannot give in to the depths in which we want to sink. We cannot hide ourselves away and fence ourselves off from the world. The world will get in anyway. We might as well find ways to accept and embrace it.

So as this week begins, I’m endeavoring to seek shelter in those who know me best and will not give up meeting together with them as I am wont to do. I will seek how best to live by doing so. 

This week, I encourage you to seek out someone who knows you well and would want you to share your struggles with them. Not everyone in this fallen world is seeking to make us stumble. Find your tribe. Find those who honestly care about you and seek shelter within their loving embrace. Also, try to be that shelter for someone this week.

Happy Monday.

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