On the edge of our garden there is a wall.
This wall is made of concrete block. It has been there longer than we have and I suspect, will be there long after.
I used to think this wall was a good thing. Our garden is completely secluded. Our children play safely outside where we can watch them, but nobody else can.
The wall defines the edge of the garden, it protects the things I enjoy.
In our street, having a wall is unusual. All the other properties have grounds that extend to the edge of the pavement.
Some of our neighbours have picket fences, but all of the other houses in our street are visible from the road.
Except for ours.
As I said, I used to think this was just fine.
Then, one day a few years ago, my wife had ordered something from the internet and the delivery did not arrive. An email was sent and on the following day, despite reassurance, the delivery failed again. Finally, after my wife’s exasperated phone call to the delivery company detailing exactly how to find us the package arrived, two days late.
It would be easy to blame the delivery company.
However, in reality, we were expecting them to find us, despite the fact that our house and garden are completely hidden behind the wall.
You could argue that it is their job to look for the delivery location, they are being paid to deliver, they should try harder, but that is not really how humans work, is it?
Actually, once the driver had been directed, once he had spoken to someone and made a human connection he had much more incentive than just a simple instruction on the delivery list he worked from.
We have learned from this experience
We now give a whole set of special instructions when we are expecting a delivery. We will, if we can, type in special directions at the point of order. Sometimes we will call or email the delivery company and occasionally we will phone the delivery driver directly.
A parcel has not gone missing for ages now.
This can be very like our lives. In our lives we need others in order to make things happen. If we have a goal, we usually require something from someone else to achieve it.
Very often I would put up a barrier, just like the wall.
I used to think that a good defence would protect me. Or that if there was a barrier in the way of something, it must be there for a reason.
Actually, like the wall in our garden, I have learned to get around the barriers that block the way to what I want.
I have realised that I need other people.
People that can help me get to where I want to be, but because of my barriers they have not been able to find me. I still have more to do.
Instead of just inviting people in, I think everyone should spend some time going out, beyond the metaphorical wall. We should all take trips to new lands and by doing so we may find something different. It may not be what we expected, but it will be new and exciting and we can learn and grow from it.
Remember to work your way around your barriers, get past your walls and live.