“Boundaries mark the most beautiful of places, between the ocean and the shore, between the mountains and the plains, where the canyon meets the river.”
William Paul Young
This week Ben has challenged us to illustrate boundaries – a seemingly straightforward request but one that is open to many interpretations. I’ve chosen to be literal with my photographs while waxing a bit more philosophical in my thoughts. My opening capture is focused on a pair of sheep grazing happily within the fence by which they are confined; further restricted by the mountains beyond. So too, many of us remain confined by invisible fences such as fear of the unknown or fear of failure.
“We need people who push boundaries rather than retreat inside them.”
Above, a lone sheep seems to have found the perfect place to graze – alongside a carefully-crafted stone fence leading through bright green grass and yellow flowers to the beautiful blue sea beyond. No matter how comfortable you may be in your personal confines though, would it not be a worthy goal to break outside of them occasionally to face the challenges that await – pushing the boundaries as Tim Fargo says, rather than retreating from them like sheep?
“We love to overlook the boundaries which we do not wish to pass.”
We are all sometimes guilty of growing overly comfortable within the boundaries we’ve established – as Mr. Johnson says, overlooking those we do not wish to pass. Do we allow ourselves to remain in situations that may no longer be in our best interest just because it’s the “devil you know” ? Have we stayed in a dead-end job, resisted a relocation, rejected an offer of friendship – all for the wrong reasons, anywhere along the line?
“Once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment.”
What of the boundaries of our circumstances? Like the similarly-shaded sheep above, do we befriend only those in our same social sphere; of our own faith or race; or of the same political persuasion? How often have we sought to help those who need a hand, or a friend, or simply someone’s ear or open mind? Have we discounted those whose opinions differ from our own, rather than seeking to understand and perhaps learn from a different point of view?
“There is no boundary between heaven and earth unless we believe in one.”
The farm animals in these photographs are confined within real, finite boundaries – but happily for the most part we humans are not. We have the ability to overcome our limitations and our fears, to reach beyond whatever it is that confines us and strive for something better.
“We are designed boundary-less and limitless in what we can achieve. Unfortunately, we are also skillful in building boundaries and limits…”
Think about the personal boundaries you’ve built. Do they make sense? Are they still serving you well or do they need to be shaken up a bit? If your answer is no, good for you! If not, what might you achieve if you stepped outside of your own fences and reached for new heights? The view beyond your current boundaries just might be a bit more beautiful than you think!
My thanks to Ben for his thought-provoking challenge. To see some others’ responses, click here.