Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dangerous Fences - Epilogue

(a parable)

A few days ago, my daughter showed up at the doorstep with her four children. It was a great surprise, since we hadn't heard from them in a long time. Her eyes were red with tears and she began sobbing almost as soon as she sat down in our couch. My heart broke as her story poured out... (in her words)

"Dad, I am soooo sorry that we cut you off five years ago. I don't know where else to go, but I knew we would be safe here. The last few years have been miserable for me, as my husband began putting up many more fences for all of us. At first it was ok, because you always taught us to stay within the fences, but the fences became so constricting that we couldn't leave the house. All the shades had to be drawn on the windows, and the walls we had built kept us from any meaningful contact with almost anyone.

It didn't feel right, but I didn't know why. I went to the salesman for advice, and he showed me how the supplemental manual required us to stay inside the fences. I went along with it until my husband began wiring the fences with electricity. No one really understood or believed what he was doing. From the outside everything looked great, and the salesman said as long as we stayed in the fences, there shouldn't be any problems.

But the problem was that our whole house had become a dangerous place, and it was all fenced off, so the danger was not evident to those outside or even to us. There was no where to go, and the fences weren't able to protect us. They had imprisoned us in our own home; we were definitely not safe. There were no more fences to build, and there was no way to avoid danger.

I found the power switch to the electricity and turned it off; then I began taking down the fences. It was the only way to get out of danger, but my husband objected and called the salesman. The salesman came over right away and advised me to stay within the fences. When I told him that the danger was actually inside the fences, he couldn't see it. He urged me to get back in the fences, but when I refused, the salesman and my husband built a fence, cutting me and the children off.

We had no place else to go, but we remembered that beautiful spot in your yard and we just wanted to come here, so we can figure out what to do."

[My heart broke for my daughter, but I couldn't help but realize my acceptance of the supplemental manual for fence building had paved the way for my daughter's pain. I hoped the manufacturer would give me a chance to help others avoid the same kinds of fence building monstrosities. That is why I have shared our story with you.]

[Beware of fences! They are all dangerous, so you need to follow the manufacturer's directions very carefully. Small alterations to it seem ok, at first (or even desirable), but the danger in doing so is very real.]

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