Last semester, while on CPE (clinical pastoral experience/chaplaincy) I spent A LOT of time talking about and reflecting on boundaries. Observing healthy and life-giving boundaries has not always been a strength of mine so I was really grateful for a chance to explore this more.
Most helpful things learned: Forgiveness is given to us and we are to give this to others. Forgiveness makes a way for something new, but that something new can mean separation, self-care, loss of relationship...all so that God can work something new. New often sucks (at first).
I still have much to learn, especially in how to maintain boundaries with more grace and less harshness. Because of this learning I wrote a reflection many months ago after a conversation with my CPE supervisor...it is inspired by long-lost friends, the men who have cycled in and out and all the many, many, many, many voices who have offered their two cents as to how I should be parenting or living differently (especially the random lady at a bus station who ranted at me for 2 full minutes about how inappropriately my child was dressed...this is for you, lady!)
We're doing our best, I trust you are too.
How many of you have peered through our window, intrigued by our messy, love-filled and self-sufficient life? How many times have you remained hunched over, unsure of why you're even there, protected by the cover of night? How many stones have your thrown from your place in the dark? How many cracks have you put in our window?
From your perch outside the window you can only see the expression on our faces, you cannot hear our voices or the words behind the furrowed brow. While crouching outside you can only see the stains on my skirt, unable to breath in the home-cooked dish baking in the next room.
If you stay outside all you can see are the crumbs ground in the backseat of our car, however you'll forever miss the adventures we are driving away to...
I know its easier to keep a safe distance
I know its easier to stay crouched in the dark
the window is cleaner, a barrier which protects, yet allows minimal access
If you came to the door, you would need to stand upright
If you came to the door your knocking would reveal your intentions
If you came to the door you could add your voice to the arguments, laughter, whispers
If you came to the door, the invitation would be extended so you could cross the threshold
you would be exposed to all the voices,
all the places,
all the smells,
all the love.
I am saddened to think of why you're all hunched over, is it the many burdens on your back? Or the ache in your chest? How do you have so many stones that your clenched fist is overflowing? Is it because you've caught them mid-air while they're being thrown your way?
I'm hunched over too. I have many stones, always at the ready.
It is scary to come to the door.
It takes a lot of strength to raise your hand and knock,
so much strength that most days I am not sure I would be able if I had a choice
I understand its harder to come to our door, so I beg you please...stay the hell away from our window.