August 10, 2016

The Neighbors and the Fence

Lamentations 3:22-23
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

After two damaging spring hail storms, a portion of our wood fence was replaced when one of our neighbors behind us was approved for all new fencing by his insurance company.

He hired a crew that was obviously not a top notch crew. I think it was a friend of a friend and well, it was clear they weren’t expert fence people. Thank goodness we only shared about 50 feet of fence!

But, half of that length bordered a section of our lawn and the other half bordered my flower beds that contain a birdbath, garden bench, flower pots, and a decorative trellis among other typical decorative garden items.

From an upstairs window I watched the crew begin to tear down the fence and when they broke the first section loose they pushed it over onto our lawn, which meant the next section, if pushed carelessly like the first section, would crash onto several breakable items in my garden.

My heart began to race at the thought of them destroying my flower beds and its contents. I told myself, they will look around the fence and see what is on the other side and seeing that it is a decorated flower bed, they will not just push a whole section over onto it. But, I continued to watch and no one looked around to see what was on the other side. They just started to pry it loose and I knew that in a matter of a couple minutes it would be pushed over onto my flower bed. I ran down the stairs and through the house and out the patio door yelling stop, stop!

I got to them just in time to stop them.

And then, I lost my temper. I angrily let them know they should have more regard for other people’s property. They should know what is on the other side of a fence before they push it over.

Then I went inside the house and quickly began to feel the shame that I had not handled the situation more calmly. Talk about not being a good testimony as a Christian. I failed big time.

I walked back outside and across the back yard where they were carefully taking down the section of fence so it wouldn’t fall on my garden, and I took a deep breath and began to apologize for how I yelled at them. I did mention something about the fact that they did truly need to consider what is on the other side of a fence before they just push it over. But I said it very sweetly this time. 

They accepted my apology and although I still felt bad because I lost my temper, I also began to feel much lighter of heart after I apologized. I knew God had given me grace to do the right thing and I knew that His gift of mercy for me that day was new and fresh just for me in the moment I needed it.

I messed up. His mercy made me whole again.