A Surprising Lesson From My Fence

A Surprising Lesson From My Fence

This week’s inspiration comes from an unlikely source: the fence across the street from my home. Although it is not on my property, it welcomes all who visit, framing the road into our neighborhood.

In early spring, I noticed a young man working on the fence. Each day he would strip two sections of the fence. The next day he would paint those two sections.

As he neared my property, I wheeled across the road so I could introduce myself and offer him water. I learned he worked for the nearby school and would be stripping and painting the entire fence. I told him how grateful I was for his hard work and how exciting it was to see the difference a coat of paint was making for our neighborhood.

Rains came and his pace slowed. He toiled on for a few weeks and then he stopped. When he resumed, he started a different method, only stripping the fence. Not painting it.

Unfortunately, he stopped right in front of my driveway.

For a while, gratitude and patience prevailed. When Tripp and I made our daily jaunt to the end of the driveway to get the newspaper, I was hopeful that day would be the day my section would be painted.

After a few weeks, though, annoyance started to set in.

Why was it taking so long to strip the rest of the fence? Why did he change his technique in the first place? Why did he have to stop in front of my driveway? Wasn’t my home deserving of a painted section, too?

Maybe it was the glare of unfinished business, or the uncontrollable nature of the pace, or the uncertainty of the plan, but I began to notice the status of the fence was starting to set the tone for the rest of my day.

Had my gratitude turned into entitlement?


As I considered the facts, the situation had not changed. What had changed was my attitude about it.

I could do something about that. So, I decided to reset my thinking to gratitude.

I swapped out my demanding thoughts, reminding myself to be grateful for the generosity of the school, for the hard work of the young man, and for the return of pleasant weather that may make his work more comfortable.

One day, it will be my turn. Meanwhile, it may be worth remembering:

“Happiness and misery depend as much on temperament as on fortune.” –La Rochefoucauld

What about you? Has an unexpected gift become an entitlement? How did you change your attitude about it? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Many thanks to the photographic skills of my sister Rachel, the graphic design skills of my new friend, Abbie (who is wonderful if anyone needs a freelance graphic designer), and the modeling skills of my niece Ashley for creating my first Facebook ad for my eBook!

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