After a few years of wanting a flower bed, bordered by a white picket fence, I finally bit the bullet and bought all the supplies, gathered my unpaid manual labor (AKA my kids) and set to work.
I had visions of a picture perfect scene of a finished product, worthy of a glossy magazine cover. Or at the very least a viral Pinterest pin. Never mind the fact that I had lost my perfectionistic standards (if I ever had any) 3 or 4 children ago.
In the flavor of Real Life, as opposed to Magazine Cover Life or Pinterest Life, my finished product wasn’t picture perfect.
As in the photo above, I could angle my camera in such a way that the fence looked almost similar to perfect. It could give the illusion of perfect, if not closely scrutinized.
The reality though, is that it could never be mistaken for the work of a professional landscaper, because in fact, it wasn’t.
My rickety fence droops and leans. It weaves and juts. It falls right down when the dog jumps over it and bumps it with a leg.
I worked and worried with my rickety fence, and devoted as much time as I could afford to it. I used wire cutters and thin wire ties to secure the posts in place.
After many hours of repairs, I stood back and beheld my still rickety fence.
No matter how much I fussed with it, the appearance hardly changed.
And I started to mourn my lack of landscaping skills and our sloping yard. I wondered why it seems that other people’s fences seem so much straighter, and nicer, and more professional looking than mine.
It seemed to me that some folks move right into houses with nice level yards and nice, straight picket fences already in place. And here I was with little experience and uncooperative earth, fighting a losing battle with my rickety fence. I wanted a neat, straight picket fence, but it seemed not to want to live at my house.
And I thought about how this is so much like Life.
Some of us have an easier time of it, whether it be because of more margin in the budget, or more compliant children, or more involved husbands. It seems that some people move right into a life with neat, straight picket fences already in place.
And then there are the rest of us who work and sweat and arrange and dig and cut wires to tie up what should stand up anyway, only to step back to behold our still rickety fences. It’s not that we don’t want Straight and Neat, but that Straight and Neat doesn’t seem to fit us.
Like skinny jeans on a non-skinny jean friendly body. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)
And I wondered if maybe I ought to be celebrating my rickety fence.
Maybe that rickety fence is a symbol of my imperfection, my striving for beauty and order despite my imperfections, my failure at Magazine Cover Life, but my mastery of Real Life.
It was then that I could see that I love my rickety fence, despite all its sagging and buckling. Maybe even because of all its sagging and buckling.
Yes, I do believe my rickety fence fits me fine. It looks just right with the toys strewn about on the front porch and the mud pies drying on the sidewalk.
A picture perfect fence just wouldn’t fit into my Rickety Fence world.