Invisible but unyielding fences

By Dave Henning / May 14, 2024

“Our limitations are often invisible but unyielding fences in our lives until we are forced to notice them. . . .  the wire fence — the limitations you’ve been resenting or working fiercely to overcome, often subconsciously.”- Sara Hagerty

“Fixed layers, consequences unfolding by casual necessity, the whole natural order, are at once limits within which their common life is confined and also the sole condition under which any such life is possible.”- C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

In Chapter 1 (“The Ache Underneath Our Limits”) of The Gift of Limitations: Finding Beauty in Your Boundaries, Sara Hagerty talks about the source of the ache we feel.  Do we ache because we carry too much?  Or might our longing supersede our large responsibilities, causing us irreconcilable pain.

Hence, Sara asserts, we humans pine.  In fact, we were made to pine.

Therefore, Sara explains:

“We all live inside a plot of life surrounded by a fence.  Life inside the fence feels full and overwhelming, yet life on the other side appears expansive and upend-ended.  We can all look outside . . . and see our fence lines.  We can see the places where our spaces end and the world begins.

Wide eyed, we fantasize about more, but not more of the full life we carry.  More restraint-free living.  That’s what we want.  A more that requires less.”

Thus, Sara observes, we think that our limits cause the discomfort we feel.  Surely, then, all we need to do is move the fence line to provide relief.

Certainly, throughout life our landscapes change and our limits vary.  Yet, that tight-chested feeling stretches across our seasons, stages, and circumstances.  For we always reach for what remains out of reach and deeply desire what may be impossible.  Thus, the tension between it’s all too much and it’s just not enough is often the same.

When you name the invisible but powerful, it’s possible to find that relief comes.

Today’s question: What forced you to notice invisible but unyielding fences of limitation?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Fence line same, heart different”

About the author

Dave Henning

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