Ever drive by a row of broken fences and wonder what happened? Why would the owner leave them in such disrepair? Then again, ever feel like you’re a broken fence? I only ask because I am, in fact, a broken fence. I’m not literally a fence but hang with me, and I’ll explain.
Three years ago, my husband and I bought our first farm. It’s been an adventure, and we've never been bored since we moved to Two Oaks Ranch in Shiloh, Georgia. The property was previously a beef farm, and our goal was to breathe new life into it and raise cattle again. One of the first tasks was to fix the electric fences. (For the city folks in the audience, these are thin, high-tensile wires strung around fence poles, not the square or barbed wire sort.)
Cows refuse to stay in their fields. They must have a barrier. Why?—you may ask. Because the grass is always greener on the other side. Honestly. They always want to be in the other pasture. We had a heifer, and a bull take the half-mile walk up our driveway to cross the highway and into the neighbor’s field. Crazy animals!
A broken fence is worthless. But even worse, it can be dangerous. An animal can get tangled up in a broken fence and become injured—the exact opposite of the barrier’s purpose.
Deer break fences, an interesting problem we repeatedly experience at Two Oaks. All the Bambis in the woods think they can effortlessly jump over our fences—but they’re nearsighted and can’t see the boundary for the trees beyond them. Their blindness to the problem causes them to run through instead of jumping over. Thus, breakage occurs.
Electricity flowing through the fence keeps it strong. A cow won’t push through an electrified fence. (Usually.) When a deer breaks it, the energy stops flowing. The naughty teenage cows often test the borders, and as soon as they realize the electricity is out—they are off and running. I’ve lost two complete, fifty-pound bags of chicken feed to these uncontrolled young’uns. (And yes, cows will eat the chicken feed if you let them.)
Why am I telling you this? It relates to our experience as humans. Here is how I see it. We’re all metaphorical fences. Sometimes our energy is high, and sometimes it‘s low, but we’ve got power running through us if we're alive. The cows represent the day-to-day work we all struggle through. Some of us at formal jobs with a boss or employees we manage. Some of us have less formal arrangements but work each day, nonetheless.
We need to keep our energy high to manage the workload (cows) within our comfort zone. But the unexpected always comes along. Often it is a near miss—whew! But now and again, the animal in us plows right through and breaks something. Sometimes it’s a minor break that weakens us. Other times, it’s a full-on break that stops us in our tracks for a time.
When those breaks occur—small or large—we must find our repair source and get re-charged. Going for too long without repair chokes us off from the power we need—this loss of energy results in unfinished work (AKA cows get out). Inattentiveness to maintenance allows weeds and trees to grow up alongside the fence line. If we don’t clear the growth regularly, the plants will ground the lines and weaken the power flow. Eventually, the energy is interrupted entirely, resulting in a dead fenceline.
I know where my source of power is, my faith. I also know I need self-care to ensure my energy remains strong. And when the wayward deer breaks me, I go to seek repair at the source of my faith. Do you know how to keep your energy strong? Feel free to share. I’d love to hear from you.