This is Bradley. He lives in the fence across the street from me. Yes, that would be the fence you see behind Bradley. You see, Bradley has developed a great talent for jumping over the fence. He likes to say hello to Scratch and Lucy, my two dogs. He likes to run through the field down the street sniffing out rabbits or rats or whatever it is dogs sniff for. Once he has come to the end of his adventure, he likes for me to walk over there and let him back in his fence so he can drink his water bowl dry. Sniffing must make a dog very thirsty! I probably put Bradley back in his fence 5 or 6 times a week. In the picture above, Bradley is barking his request to me. He’s really thirsty.
I’ve had a few long talks with Bradley about looking both ways before running across the street and how he really shouldn’t lay down in the middle of the road when he gets tired. And I had a real long talk with him about the fact that if he has the ability to jump out of the fence, then he also has the ability to jump right back in! So far he hasn’t listened to a single word I’ve said. No matter how hard I try to convince him that the fence is safe and comfy, he just won’t believe me.
I know a little about jumping fences. Three years ago I took a risk by cutting back to 2/3 time at the church so I could take on some part-time mission work with the presbytery. It was a risk because I knew that once I jumped out of that full-time fence, I would have a hard time getting back in. It didn’t bother me too much in the beginning because this was something I felt I wanted and needed to do. It has been worthwhile and exhausting. I found out yesterday, however, that my part-time adventure will come to an end soon. My position is being eliminated due to financial cutbacks at the presbytery level. The economy spares no one, not even churches or denominations – or pastors. So by the summer, my barely sufficient income will be reduced by a third.
Let’s see if I can still do math: barely sufficient – one third = oh shit!
It seems that the logical thing to do would be to just jump back into my fence. Unfortunately, Small Church is grumbling loudly about the upkeep of the now-reduced fence, so I know better to think that they will enlarge the fence back to its original size.
The thing about it is, I don’t even want back into that old fence anymore. No matter how much common sense tells me that it’s safe (relatively) and comfy, I know that it isn’t. It can’t be safe if it’s sucking the life out of me and Lord knows it’s anything but comfy these days. It’s time to find a new fence. I had the ability, at least at one time, to jump out of a fence. Shouldn’t I still have the ability to find a new one to jump in?
I just hope I don’t get too thirsty before I find it.