chained but not locked
the southwest iowa farm boy in me recognizes these gates up in the north country. i remember many times as a kid, jumping out of dad’s chevy pickup and unwrapping the chain and swinging or dragging the gates open to let him through. and then closing them behind him to keep the cattle or hogs in while we did whatever it was we were going to do on the other side. it was a relatively simple task. important, but relatively simple. good memories of my dad and my younger years. of my walking years.
on my way home from work a couple of weeks ago, i was out snapping some photos and these gates caught my eye. for the reasons above. but the picture triggered something else for me as well. these gates are on a farm site where no one lives. there are cattle there part of the year, but none in sight right now. and there is no lock. just this chain that wraps around the pipes and secures them shut. and i suppose if someone wanted to be bold enough, they could just unwrap the chains and go in. there is no lock after all.
that detail stirred something in me. and went below the surface to this realization; there are some gates in my life right now that i have been treating like locked gates. but they’re really not. they’re simply chained as are these two. whatever is on the other side is accessible. available. waiting to be explored. experienced. and i’ve been staying on this side, acting like i can’t get through.
i was reading some of henry cloud’s thoughts about discouragement recently. he writes of the ability to utilize our strengths, our initiative, and our talents. and says that when we are unable to utilize those things [strengths, initiative, talents] discouragement can set in. at that point, the feelings of being overwhelmed can override our true abilities to go on in life. to grow. to prosper. to have something of value to offer to our world.
so as we look at the gates that may be in front of us,…as simple as this may seem, it is vital that we perceive the difference between locks and mere chains. both exist along the roads we travel. just don’t let the chains act as a lock to you. am deciding to do the same. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength…”