As a tiny new born baby I was so severely allergic, and asthmatic that my parents were told that I should NEVER be laid down in a crib. The good doctor swaddled me in a thin receiving blanket and I started to wheeze as I struggled to get out of the blanket. (Maybe not such a wise demonstration on his part? Can you say malpractice?)
Have you ever held a baby for twelve hours or more a day? It wasn't very long before both of my parents were absolutely exhausted and close to collapse. Papa worked a full-time job. I had a brother and sister, both of them also needed love and attention. Then there were meals to cook, church volunteering to do....on and on and on.
Our church group heard about the situation. Soon there were volunteers coming in some days around the clock to hold me. I literally was passed from one person to the next. My Mama has told me all of my life, "It was such a rich blessing that you were not afraid of being passed from person to person with strangers."
You see this brings up another point, I simply was not allowed to cry. In that time 1956 the only treatments for asthma was oxygen, hospitalization (sterile environment), and cupping. What is cupping? Cupping involves cupping your hands and then pounding on someone's back. YUP...in some of my most severe times of asthma they would "cup," me in this manner multiple times a day. It HURTS! Ask a loved one to try it on your back. You will soon understand what I'm talking about. This cupping motion helps to break up the all too thick mucus that asthmatics have. (Sorry for not warning the medically faint of heart). Of course I could not cry! That almost every time proceeded a terrible attack, and a trip to the hospital.
Mom and Dad were told to prepare for the worst. The good doctors that they took me to concurred that I would not live for very long. I actually remember medical professionals around my hospital bed whispering, "This child will die young."
How does all of this tie in the subject of "Boundaries and Borders" you ask? I'll tell you. Spending that incredibly formative time in my life (birth to almost 2 years) gave me the sense that there is no such thing as "Stranger Danger." Add to that experience my naturally trusting disposition and you have a human that doesn't always recognize the importance of discretion. One friend lovingly told me, "You are a very open person. Since you are so open it naturally invites others to be open as well." Thanks friend for that compliment.
The problems started when I married a delightful, brilliant, RESERVED man. I would talk to people not only about my life, and blessings and problems, but somehow in my bounderless mind his stuff was mine to share as well. (We were married, right)? WRONG! I had to learn, sometimes the hard way to keep my vocalizations silent when it came to my husband. His stuff was NOT mine to share. There were very rare exceptions. When we went through health crisis after health crisis with my darling I had to have support. Fortunately I had many, many loving friends who gave me love and support, and DID NOT SHARE any of what I told them!
I had to go to counseling before I began to solidify in my mind the concept of respect for others boundaries. Now don't be confused. I did not go through life gossiping about anything I was told by friends. No, I reserved that too open sharing for my husband.
I try now to be more mindful of the concept of boundaries. Yet, I still am extremely vocal about my life. "Sit down, I'll tell you all about my entire life in 5 minutes or less!"
Now is a new version of challenge. Nyle has passed away. His entire life was a lesson in enduring well. I want to share his life with others so that they can be inspired (as I am) with Nyle's wisdom, gift of laughter, his giant mind, and heart. He'll forgive me, right?
Boundaries exist for a reason. In the world they define counties, states, and countries. They even may define your yard (I'm looking at the chain link fence outside my Hillside Home as I type this." Do they exist to shut people out? Or do they exist to define? Many, MANY wars have been fought over where boundaries of land lie. So boundaries can define, protect, but can they also limit?
What if your personal sense of boundaries is so profound that you can't let any other human being into your heart, mind, and life? Can boundaries restrict? You bet your bippy baby! (For those who had the misfortune of being born beyond the 1960's a bippy is a mystical thing that Goldie Hawn (mom to Kate Hudson), spoke about in the comedy Laugh-In).
Boundaries can be the basis for many unhealthy mental issues, things like Agoraphobia (fear of going outside your habitat), Claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces...especially when others are confined with you in that tight space), or Arachnaphobia (fear of spiders invading your boundaries...they should stick to their habitat which is anywhere outside of MY HOUSE!)
Today, look at yourself. Do you have healthy boundaries? If you do NOT, do you wish to learn how to change that? Are there others that do not respect your boundaries? How do you express that dynamic and change it? I challenge you to take just 10 minutes, a pen and some paper (or for those of you who MUST do ALL THINGS through technology) notes on your version of technology. Write, do I respect the boundaries of others? If not how do I change. If yes, move on to this next question. Are there others who do not respect MY boundaries? How do I go about fixing that situation. You can NEVER change another human being. They must change themselves. On the other hand if someone is not respecting your boundaries and will NOT respect your boundaries, shore up your courage and explain to them kindly but firmly that you need some space. (You probably will have to define what "space" entails. If they don't understand respecting boundaries they still will not understand the term "space."
Sometimes we need a professional counselor, or a well trained clergy to help us work through boundary issues. There is NEVER any shame in getting education and assistance. NONE OF US can make it through this life WELL without the help of others. REACH OUT...this may be my most important statement in this long post, DON'T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE! Change may be hard, it may pinch, pull, and stretch us further than we wish to pinch, pull or stretch. Yet life is all about that...challenges to teach us and make us stronger.