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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

All Fenced In

We now have a 4-strand barbed wire fence surrounding our field.

I did not have a lot to do with it, I helped somewhat, drove the truck, nailed a few staples and fed and watered the guys, you know basically the supervisory position. Seriously Brian and his brother took on the brunt of the work. One other dear saint came out on the 38 degree day as well and helped pound some posts and got us started.

I have never seen a fence put in before and neither had Brian so as new-bees we were not sure what to expect. The experienced fencer told us it was a lot of work and I believe that man knew exactly what he was talking about.

It took a heck of a lot of sweat and labour.

First you mulch the ground around the field to clear a path where you want to put posts.

Then you put up some corner posts and put some string on it to ensure your line is straight. The lines of a fence MUST be straight.

Then you hopefully get a post pounder and start pounding in posts, for us that meant about 300 posts. These posts are spaced 16’ apart except where you need to brace and, on the corners, that spacing is closer.

You place one strand of barbed wire around the circumference.

Then you work on the braces, these are the strong corner pieces and pieces in the middle that hold the wire tight and give it tension so the posts do not pull over.

Next you pull 3 barbed wire lines around the circumference, one at a time because more than that can get really messy, tacking it in place every other post and tightly securing it to the end posts of the line.

Now you are ready to walk the circumference and hammer all the staples into the posts that will hold each of the wires in place.

You will be then ready to install gates and when you do, you will have a fence that will hold in animals and pray that it will keep wild animals at bay so they do not charge into it and take it down.

What an undertaking and I could not even guess how many hours this project took and it was not a cheap project either.

Brian might have been overly optimistic at the beginning with how many days he thought this project might take – he was a few days short.

We have the gates to install and then we will be ready to put some cows into the field.

All that work to contain some cows. (I guess it could have been horses or sheep or goats)

Why would someone do all that work? Go through all that effort to contain some cows?

Basically, it is the same answer for people – we all need boundaries.

Without a proper fence cows will wander off and get lost, fall down the ravine or even head out to the road.

Without boundaries people can wander off course, get lost, venture down the wrong path of life and even head directly out into the traffic.

We all need boundaries.

They discovered this on elementary school playgrounds:

There were always fences built up around the playground to keep the children safe. Kids would play out in the yards and right up to the fences, sometimes climb the fences.

Someone thought that the fences were cruel and confined the children, so some schools took their fences down.

They discovered that the children now with the ability to wander freely with no fences, hugged the areas close to the building. They would not venture out into the playground or yards. They rebuilt the fences and the children moved out into the whole school yard again.

It turns out that boundaries, or fences are not confining, they actually help us to know how far we can go. They give us freedom. Isn’t that crazy? Fences built to keep us in, actually give us structure and freedom.

It is why most of us, had rules as kids. You knew the limits and usually you knew what would happen if you pushed the limits too far. Same as at school, students know the limits or boundaries of their teachers. They figure out quickly how far teachers can be pushed. Just ask a substitute teacher what it is like to “sub”. Kids try to push the boundaries because they have no idea what the new boundaries of the new teacher are. They want to test and see.

God’s Word, the Bible is all about boundaries and freedom. God wants the best for us so He gives us limits and consequences. He knew what He was doing when He set those in place, it was for our good, it was for freedom, not for our punishment. God did not want to take the “fun” out of life by setting boundaries, in fact He was setting us free by keeping us safe, much like our fence for the security of the cows.

The cows will never know the sweat equity it took to build that thing, but we will.

People will probably never realize the costs that it cost God to give us boundaries as well. The work was done for us but sometimes all we can see is the limiting fence and the sweet greener grass on the other side that we cannot get to. We whine and complain, we cast off our limits, break down the fences and think we are free and life will be better without God and those limits.

There was a horrible accident on the highway last month. A semi came around the corner and there on the highway was a bunch of cows who got out of their fence. The result was a rolled over semi, dead cows, a lot of blood and over a week worth of clean up. Today you can still see the skid marks clear across 4 lanes of highway, a grim reminder that a proper fence secures both the inside contents from the outside contents.

Long and short: Without limits, boundaries and fences - life can really get messy and be a sure recipe for disaster.

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