Porches & Fences

While driving through Church Hill today, I was struck by how many of the old homes have porches on the front of the buildings. Many of these homes were built 100 years ago – back when people were not as busy and life moved at a much slower pace. Then I saw a handful of older African Americans sitting on their porches talking to each other. This is not an odd thing to see in the city. Many of the older adults spend a lot of time sitting on their porches watching people go by or talking with neighbors. I have often wondered, ‘Don’t these people get bored? They should be doing something.’

But maybe these people are the ones with the right idea. Maybe I can learn from them. I wonder if they think, ‘Why is everyone else always busy and in such a hurry? Is the next destination really that important?’ Then again maybe we both can learn something from each other.

A few streets down the road, I saw a house with a fence around it. The fence basically said to any possible visitor or thief, ‘Go away! You’re not welcome here.’ In the city, many have fences because they fear drug addicts or thieves looking for anything to steal to turn quick buck. Fences can be a good way to protect your family and yourself. Let’s face it. Not everyone walking the streets is someone that you may want to let into your life. We even need to be careful with how we give people access to our heart. Some people just can’t be trusted to do the right thing.

As I thought about the differences between fences and porches, I weighed the pros and cons looking for a reasonable answer. Then I remembered the saying, ‘Fences make good neighbors.’ A second later the Spirit said to me, “Porches make good neighbors.”It’s hard to argue with that because Jesus never really erected a fence around anything except for saving time to be with the Father and His Disciples. Jesus opened up His life and called us to do the same.

There must be a middle ground between doing nothing and being busy to the point that you are in reality doing nothing of eternal worth. Where is the balance between tall fences and shallow porches?

I am too busy. I need to slow down, but it seems like something I have a hard time doing. I have always been a doer. Rush, rush. Plan, plan. It just seems to be the right thing to do. But there is a way that seems right to a man that leads to death.

Oh Father, help me to submit ‘my’ time to you. Enable me to let go. You need to steer this pinto. Guide me to the center of the road. I desire to protect those things worth protecting and to be open in all of the other areas of my life. May my life be more like a porch…especially when it comes to spending time alone with You. Amen!

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