Things Are Shaping Up: Open Spaces

Apparently, when she was younger, she was always pushing at the boundaries.

Always testing the edges of what was permissible. She would be told what she could do and what she was not allowed to do and for some reason she would keep pushing until she discovered what it was that tipped things over the edge.

That was disconcerting when she was a child and it became a little more concerning when she took it into school. By the time she was supposed to have gone off to university like her siblings and ‘make something of her life’, she was off the rails completely. Her parents were told that they should have done more to discipline her and restrain her urges. Those on the inside knew that it would have been counterproductive looking to set up more barriers.

Her turning point came when someone asked her why she was so keen on getting to the edges. She was ready to unleash her usual spiel about being defiant and not being able to be contained by others. Before she got the chance, though, the person asking her gave her the spiel in advance as though it was already known. She didn’t even have the time to get angry at having the wind knocked out of her sails before another blow came raining in with a very simple question: have you even explored the open spaces?

No one had asked her that before and she wasn’t even aware what that question meant. It made her look again at how she lived and she noticed that a lot of what she did was about pushing edges and boundaries. But living space wasn’t just about the ends and the edges. There was more to it than that, but her focus on the boundaries and the edges gave her the impression that the limits were all she had. another perspective was that she had not even made the most of the space within. She had not even explored it. She did not know how vast that space was, all because she felt it was all about living on the edges and seeing the limitations.

She did not experience an overnight change. Her outlook and demeanour appeared to be the same at first. As the challenge began to gnaw away at her, though, she recognised that her life could be defined and shaped by things that were not about seeing the limits of things, but spending time enjoying the open spaces that are found within. The open spaces to be found in relationships when they are not about seeing the limitations, the edges and the boundaries. Exploring and enjoying the open spaces shared in those relationships.

In that she saw that there was no call or drive for her to have to conform to what others demanded of her. The true and enriching relationships she came across enabled her to see things shaping up very differently for her. Her rough edges softened without diminishing the sparkle in her. The fire to defy and break boundaries was re-directed to lighting a path and warming the way for others to enjoy the open spaces.

The same people who criticised her parents for not instilling discipline were startled at the change they saw in her. They were dumbfounded that this so-called wild-child had not been tamed by just getting on with the status quo or becoming a docile sucker for the next control freak. Their opinions and views were disposed of when they saw someone loving her parents and challenging them to explore those open spaces with her.

So when she saw someone else struggling with authority and always pushing at the limitations, she had just the question for that person. When she saw the similar perplexed face on the apparent rebel, she smiled to herself.

Things were shaping up just lovely.

(Photo by Andreas van der Griendt on Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake


C. L,. J. Dryden


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