First good storm in a long time and we were thrilled to hear the rain pounding on the roof. Lightning flashed. The lights flickered. We gathered at the back door and watched the storm. Then…
KKKKrrrrAckkkk! I instinctively cowered at the loud sound. It came from above. You could feel it in your teeth. “That one was CLOSE,” someone said. The recessed lights in the kitchen vibrated for a good 20 seconds, alternating frequencies in and out with each other, then settled down.
Heading upstairs to check on things, I smelled it. “Something’s burnt.” It was coming from Katie’s bedroom. I looked around her room; nothing. Looked out her window over the porch roof. Mortar was strewn over the shingles. The window screen had popped off and fallen onto the yard.
Someone who shall remain nameless sent Willie (who’s twelve and somewhat short for his age, a detail I’m sure anyone but a practical Texan would overlook) out into the storm — shirtless, so he wouldn’t get too wet — to check and see if the roof was on fire. It wasn’t. Willie hurried back in and we dried him off with a towel.
We checked the computers. OK. Checked the garage; the circuit breakers had all switched. We noticed the garage door opener did not work, the sprinkler system was fried, the electric dog fence frizzled.
Over the next day or two the house itself revealed further damage…the Internet connection was gone, cable out, phones killed. Henry’s Turtle Beach headset stopped working, but the X Box it was plugged into was fine. Random outlets were affected; one socket would be working the other one dead. Who knows the logic of electricity and lightning together?
We are still waiting for the circuit boards to the heating and air conditioning units to be delivered…and I think that’s the extent of it. I suppose we should have someone come out to inspect the roof. (Not Willie.)
So we’re repairing things as needed. I can manually open and close the garage door. We can live without the landline for awhile and — get this — it hasn’t dawned on our dog Rosie yet that she is FREE.
That lightning bolt started a tiny fuse smoldering somewhere in the electric fence’s control box rendering it impotent. No charge, no shock. Rosie can go trotting around the hood any old time she wants. There’s nothing holding her back; not even a high pitched tone as she nears her boundary in the yard.
But she doesn’t. With her collar still on, she doesn’t know any better. She’s conditioned to stay within her established limits.
I keep wondering when she’ll figure out she can wander without getting zapped. A week? Never? I’m keeping an eye on her. Two days ago I went next door to let the neighbors’ dogs out while they were gone and I could hear Rosie standing at her invisible line barking “I can hear you over there with those other dogs. And you left me here.” But she could have bounded over. She just “knew better.”
Have you ever caught yourself behind an invisible fence of your own? Maybe you have a pre-set limit on your income. Or how much weight you can lose. Do you ever imagine taking a dream vacation, but then think, “but I only have two weeks off at a time…I can’t accomplish that trip in two weeks.”
The limits we put on ourselves are the most difficult to destroy. We decide that we “know better.” (Better than what or whom, I have no clue.) If a dog can decide that 60 yards from the front door is IT, can you fathom how powerful are the boundaries and beliefs? You who are human, but made in the likeness of God?
Sadly, our brains are capable of great imagination and possibility, but sometimes are even more constrained than a dog’s.
Maybe your limits stretch into the territory of perceived talent. How many times have you heard someone say…
- “Oh, I could never do that. I’m not creative.”
- “I can’t write.”
- “I don’t have time.”
- “I wasn’t cut out for speaking.”
- “I never did have the patience for ____.” Etc.
Maybe you’ve heard those things coming from your own voice or thoughts. I know I have.
The other day I told someone I could run three miles, no problem, but that was it. Then it occurred to me that I had conditioned myself to stop running at exactly three miles every time I set out. I tell myself my hip flexors can’t take more than three miles. My knees are weak. I don’t care for running all that much. This is what I say to myself as I run my rare but usual route. Three miles — the perimeter of the local shopping mall — is my limit.
But the truth is, I’ve not tested myself. Three miles is really just a choice.
Three miles is my invisible fence.
I’ll be honest; I’m working on breaking through some other limits, too. How many words I can write each day? How many projects I can take on? Am I ready to hire an assistant to help me?
About a month ago, just when I was standing there at the edge of my invisible boundaries, knowing I could cross over and not get burnt, a professional setback slammed me down. I had gingerly stepped toward a project I would not have even considered a year ago, and I listened for the warning signs. Maybe a few tiny tones coming from somewhere in the distance but not from my side of the fence. On my side, I knew I was safe. I got set to run with it, backed up to work up speed…then wham!, someone threw a switch and the fence came on full charge. Not fair.
I let this professional bodypunch snowball into a personal setback, which transformed into a new fear of getting shocked. Uncertainty is a cruel trait, disguised to protect you. Looking back, I take responsibility my slip, for I realize now that I let it happen. While I knew I was free to run, I neglected the sounds coming from the other side. I heard them, just didn’t deflect them. I could have found another opening but no, I simply charged straight on through.
This “setback” wasn’t even the real issue. It was a reflection of my worries about growing. (How ’bout that hindsight?) The fences other people build for you are bad enough, but if you know your abilities you can always find your way around them. You only have to listen carefully to your inner animal and you’ll escape un-zapped.
It’s only when you start believing in those invisible fences yourself…then you’ve got a HUGE problem. Belief in your own invisible fence is devastating because you lend that make-believe barrier the pure energy of your mind. And that’s more powerful than any electrical force.
We all have our mental and spiritual yards to play in. Some are happy being on a leash. Safe, protected, free enough. But that’s not you. Whatever size your yard, you can see past the boundary line, can’t you? I know I can see beyond mine. I can smell it, even.
Ahh, the scent of freedom.
I’m praying for the wisdom and strength needed to step over that invisible boundary and make your yard even bigger this week. Ready? I’m with you.
Which do you think are more formidable? The boundaries others put on you, or the ones you create all on your own? Come on over to Facebook and share what you think. I’ll be there.