There’s a house on my route that caught fire a couple of years ago.
In the fire, it was gutted… but since the house could be reclaimed, they repaired it and the folks who lived there have since moved back in.
One of the things that went away after the fire happened was the fence that surrounded the house.
The posts are still there, the gate is still up and functional…it closes and latches like it used to…but there’s nothing attached to the wooden posts.
It’s nothing but a defined perimeter.
It’s just an idea of what used to be a barrier.
At this house, there’s two chihuahuas.
I feed the dogs on my route when I see them. It’s one of the routines that get me through each day.
These dogs at this house are kind of a pain…wagging their tails when they know I’m going to give them another in a long line of bones…barking their heads off when I get out to deliver a package. When I step out to deliver a package, it’s sometimes like they’ve never seen me before.
These two chihuahuas are not on my list of the smart dogs on the route.
One day last week, I rolled up to the box and the only chihuahua that greeted me was the younger of the two…the black one.
“Huhhh….where’s that old, dumb brown chihuahua?” I thought.
I did a quick scan around the junked cars and the trash from the house fire.
Then I saw him. He was waiting patiently behind the closed gate, like he had a million times before when there was still something of substance between the fence posts to impede his range.
Sitting obediently like there was a purpose behind the accepted impediment.
“Oh, dude…there’s a big world out there…walk around the freaking gate, you dumb old chihuahua…” This dumb brown chihuahua was disappointing me.
I don’t get it. Maybe it’s just what he knows…like all those old prison movies where the old-timer says that he wouldn’t know how to make it on the outside? The one who stays behind when the younger guys bust a move?
So there sits the brown chihuahua….safe in the familiar.
People talk about “comfort zones”, but what happens if we’re scared to bust out of our “uncomfortable zones” ? What happens if we’re afraid to move around the latched gate? The gate of “quiet desperation”?
I know that in my own life, it’s pretty nerve-wracking to just go off and start running out the gate and into the “who knows where”. It’s nerve-wracking to make a change…especially when other people are involved and we’re depending on each other.
But good grief….I am good at finding gates in a wide open world. And I’m a dutiful kind of guy…if the gate has a latch, I will be sure to lock everything down tight once I get inside.
Even if it’s just a gate…and the rest of the fence has been taken down…I’ll be sure that gate is latched down completely when I get inside something familiar.
I love my job. I love seeing these dogs and talking to the people….seeing the wildlife…experiencing the seasons. I love having a purpose and being able to take care of my family.
I love that.
But just around that gate….the only thing still solid in a disappeared fence…there is a BIG WORLD.
That’s pretty darn exciting to me.