We see the white picket fences. We ooh and aww at the house behind. The yard is beautiful and perfectly landscaped. We see the family outside and wave from time to time, but never stop for very long. We walk away dreaming of what their life is like–absolutely beautiful. “That will be me someday,” as we correlate a bunch of painted wood with our happiness.
What we don’t see is everything else. We didn’t see the time their dad lost his job and they had to eat whatever they could find in the house. We didn’t see the time their daughter stayed up all night crying from a broken heart. We didn’t see the days their mom walked around feeling depressed and not enough. We didn’t see the family dog die. We didn’t see the disappointment in their son after he spent hours with a math tutor and still receive a “D” on the test. We didn’t see all the fights, all the fears, all the tears, and all the pain.
We never saw, because we never knew. They never invited us in. They stayed behind that fence and they went through all the hard times alone.
The white picket fence out front is only a barrier that keeps the rest of the world out. The white picket fence is a master of disguise and oppression. It doesn’t have to be a fence. It can be a smile on a face. It can be a lie. It can be busyness. It can be a job. It can be a relationship. It can be a sport. It can be a hobby.
We put up protection for all the same reasons. It’s never just to “look pretty.” It’s to keep others from seeing who we really are. We think they will see something ugly, broken, and a mistake. But the problem with this reasoning is that behind all the brokenness, mistakes, and pain, is you. All that makes you inspirational, encouraging, relatable, and an amazing friend. You are imperfectly perfect and shouldn’t wish it any other way.
The fence not only stops others from coming in, but it stops us from going out. Only when we let people in to see us in our pain are we able to fully enjoy and celebrate one another in our joy. They go hand in hand, and let’s be honest, it’s the hard times we need someone to know the real us the most.
So out with the fences and in with the welcome mats. Don’t just be something pretty to look at because you deserve more than that. We are longing to know you, please let us in.
Do you have the tendency to hide behind something? Are you afraid to let a part of you show? Let’s get it out in the open… it really helps!