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A Boundary Needed and A Barrier Taken Down

I recently used the word “boundary” in the family text chain to address the political hot topic taking place that crossed the guidelines of what we all previously agreed on, at least that is what I thought.  In my husband’s family they are very polarized in their political views.  You are either Republican or Democrat, no in between.  I beg your pardon, but I am not a party voter; I am an issues voter.  We all agreed to not discuss politics on this text chain as it always produces heated conversation and disrespectful words. On January 6, the day the protest turned to a deadly riot at the nation’s capital building, a few of the Democrats hollered with their disrespectful words at the Republicans on this family chat.  It was sad to make it such a personal matter. With an attempt to stop the bickering, I simply wrote a text “I thought we agreed not to go here.”  More disrespect proceeded. After a rapid-fire chain of more angry texts, I finally ended the heated words with “Family, the word is called ‘boundaries’ and you crossed them.” You could hear crickets after that, or least on this text chain.  Who knows what words were said in their homes and on their other emotional outlets such as Facebook and Twitter? My brother said the same of the Peace & Justice committee at church.  The Democrats and Republicans sparred during their recent virtual committee meeting to the point that the pastor had to stop it with, “Is this not what this group is against? Peace, brothers and sisters, peace!”

Boundaries abide in our lives in various forms.  And they are here to stay.  It is how God designed His people and His earth.  Look at nature and the natural boundaries of a river.  The riverbank keeps the river water flowing inside its natural boundary walls. During the spring thaw with the snow melts and rainstorms, flooding can occur.  Man-made are the houses and buildings built in the flood zones.  There is a sign standing in a farmer’s field going north on the Mississippi River road, Highway 79 that says “They call it a floodplain ‘cause it is plain to see it floods here! Remember the flood of ’93?”  Still, more construction continues in the floodplains.

To some people, the word “boundary” conveys restrictions and rules that bind.  While others make it their life’s mission to cross boundaries as a statement “you can’t tell me what to do!”  Look at how many lawless criminals we have in our justice systems or need to be.  The pervert who violates the boundaries by touching a child relative or neighbor inappropriately or the boss who stands over his female assistant gawking and intimidates her by invading her space with his words and leering.  The taxpayer who cheats on their tax filing crossed a boundary. I believe in finding and taking advantage of loopholes but be honest, so we all benefit from the taxes you paid.

Another portion of people think “oh, I’ll do this just this one time, I won’t get caught”.  But then it becomes a pattern and eventually a habit they are sucked into.  One too many youths and adults have tried cocaine just once, only to crave more of it.  Others dabble with an illicit relationship.  “Once a cheat, always a cheat” is what society will say about the unfaithful spouse.  Can you trust him again?  Other folks do not mean to a cross a boundary but do so out of ignorance or immaturity.  Ever hear of the saying “being at the wrong place at the wrong time” or “being with the wrong person at the wrong time”?  Immaturity may result in a job termination, injury, death, court hearing, jail time, ruined reputation, divorce, or a damaged relationship.   Unless you choose to learn from your mistake, a pattern of mistrust in oneself or in relationships may result.

For those who will say “rules are meant to be broken,” there is a degree of truth to that statement.  For those who say this, I can say “yes”, sometimes.  When a rule infringes on the rights of another based on a discrimination or prejudice, we need to evaluate and make the circumstance a fair game for all.  When a boss micromanages or a workplace with too many rules stifling creativity or worse mistreats an employee or a segment of employees, the employee(s) can speak up for change. Granted we are not always heard, so then there is an opportunity to leave and move on to a better work environment.  Same holds true in our personal relationships.

What does the word “boundary” mean?  And where did the word originate from?  The Oxford dictionary has two definitions.

  1. A line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.
  2. A limit of a subject or sphere of activity.

The origin of the word “boundary” is from the English from the early 1600’s.  This word is a variant of the word “bounder” meaning an outlaw, dishonorable or unscrupulous man.  Maybe more so of “limitary”, setting limits; subject to restrictions.  Its usage in our language increased gradually over the years with a surge between 1960 to 2010.  Maybe something to do with our women’s liberation movement, experimental drugs, free love, and civil rights era?  We had to have a word to describe those braless days, LSD trips, long-haired hippies, religious cults, nudist colonies, and violent protests. Currently, the usage of “boundary” is on a downhill.  I wonder what word in our language replaced “boundary” because boundaries are still needed in 2021? 

For some folks, when the word “boundary” is used, it provides a sense of security and a knowing of what to expect.  Consider the sacred scriptures of several religions: The Old and New Testaments for Christians, the Torah for Jews, the Catechism for Catholics, the Tripitaka for Buddhist, and the Koran for the Muslims. These are filled with wisdom and laws to abide by.  For an example a proverb (23:10 & 11) in the Old Testament says, “Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for strong is their Redeemer who will take up their case against you.” Ancient boundaries protect our children.  This is a positive aspect of a boundary.  But some barriers need to come down.

The promise I hold onto from the New Testament is, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” ~Ephesians 2:14.

Posted in children, Family, friend, God, husband, Jesus, life, loneliness, love, people, poverty, Prayer, redeemer, world

Kin

Mr. & Mrs. Dean Anthony GallThere are so many people in this world, but it is a small world at times.  Based on the 1920’s concept “Six Degrees Of Separation”, we each are six or less connections away from one another in this game called life.  This concept is used with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media.  Based on genetic studies, for most of us if you go back 10 generations, you  probably share a grandmother with your neighbor.  What makes someone kin to you?  Birth?  Blood?  Spirit?  Relationship?  Bonding?  Association?  Adoption?  “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,” according to William Shakespeare.

This word “kin” reminds me about the biblical story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz.  Boaz became a “kinsman redeemer” when he married Ruth after her husband (Naomi’s son) passed away.  A “kinsman redeemer” is the relative who restores or preserves the full community rights of disadvantaged family members.  Boaz was not the likely choice, an older man.  But Ruth listened to what Naomi told her about Boaz, a good man.  Ruth was a blessing to Boaz.  Ruth and Boaz would give birth to Obed, who was King David’s grandfather.  And King David is a descendent of our Lord Jesus, Who is the ultimate “kinsman redeemer”.  With my Savior Jesus, God’s covenant relationship with Israel was completed with the redemption of humanity in Jesus Christ.

Like Boaz was for Ruth, my husband, Dean is for me.  Although 3 months younger than I, he is related to a friend, my former supervisor who introduced us.  Funny thing as we learned after we met, we were very close to meeting each other in our younger college years right after high school as we attended the same university and knew mutual people.  My friend, now sister-in-law told me Dean was a good man, and that he is.  And I love him dearly, so very thankful for Dean and the completeness and joy he brings in my life.  We have a great relationship, not perfect but work things through.  There are differences in how we were raised, and how we raised our children.  We differ in opinions on some social and society issues, but come back to our foundation, Christ. Dean redeemed me from emptiness, loneliness, and small living as a divorcee and an older single parent.  A late-bloomer, I sought out a new career in my 40’s after raising my two daughters and while my son was still in school.  After a rough first marriage I gave up on the thought of marriage for a long time.  Then I began to pray for a good forthright Christian man for a couple of years before I met Dean.  Perfect timing, jobs, friendships, open hearts, like-minded on important matters, and love that were aligned by God.  So happy I ended up with Dean. From what Dean tells me, he feels the same towards me.  He calls me his rock, solid foundation.  And his queen, not pretentious, his “all natural girl”. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” ~ Emily Bronte.