A few years back I was leading a writing workshop. One of the exercises I gave to the group was to respond to the question, “What is the opposite of a fence?” I participated in this exercise as well, and what follows was my response:
A fence keeps out, so the opposite must bring in.
So is the opposite of a fence a hug?
Or is it your eyes looking into my eyes
telling me that it is safe to come close?
A fence separates, so the opposite of a fence must bring together.
Is the opposite an apology?
Or is it your acceptance and mercy
when I say I’m sorry and really mean it?
A fence divides properties,
so the opposite must share properties.
Is the opposite a gift?
Or is it your open hand of friendship?
A fence keeps things in, so the opposite must release things.
Is the opposite a key?
Or is it that one word from you
that frees my heart?
Your all-embracing acceptance and mercy,
the great gift of your life
— your friendship even —
this is the key that unfences my heart.
Thank you, Jesus, for being the opposite of a fence.
Although this isn’t exactly about motherhood, I want my son to understand fences in this way.