There’s a poem by Robert Frost called ‘Mending Walls’.  In it, the narrator asks why every spring, he and his neighbour  rebuild the stone wall dividing their farms.

He says: ‘”Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out / And to whom I was like to give offense.”

His neighbour replies “Good fences make good neighbours”.

Are relational boundaries a good thing? How do we know when you set them and when to let them down? Are you a wall-breaker…or a wall-builder?

All kinds of things can make a wall.  Laws and rules. Masks. Routines. Fear. The humour that keeps others at a distance. I’m a natural wall-builder.   I’d like to side with the narrator; but I can see his friend’s point.   With fences, you know where you stand.  No–one trampling on your property. No awkwardness or social unease.  Just you and the fence.  Simple and neat.

Some walls are good. They set appropriate boundaries: for example, between parent and child. They allow us space: to recharge and regroup.

But some walls are more like prisons. As we lock others out, we lock ourselves in.

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