I thought of this recently because of a conversation I had with a Fellowship member. This person often attends with their partner, but on this day their partner didn’t come. I asked them where their partner was. They replied that their partner made their own choices, and sometimes decided to attend and sometimes didn’t.
I appreciated this gentle reminder of boundaries. My partner may sometimes come to events at the Fellowship—Sunday mornings and other times—and may not. It’s obviously not my business to decide for her, and it’s also not my place to explain her presence or absence to anyone else.
This is true in other ways in a covenantal community like our Fellowship. Some people may have boundaries around how much they want to discuss their children. Or their emotional challenges. Or their illness. I think it’s OK for us to ask one another, from a place of loving kindness, about one another’s family members or other personal issues. And it’s OK for someone to choose not to talk about it. We shouldn’t take it personally if someone has boundaries around parts of their personal life. It’s up to each of us to set the boundaries that we decide to, and to honor the boundaries that others set. Rather than diminishing trust and love, healthy boundaries strengthen our covenantal community so that all can feel safe and connected in the work of love and justice that we are called to do.
Gracious and loving God:
Spirit of life and love:
Mother Earth and Father Sky:
hear my prayer.
May I have the courage to be open and vulnerable, to seek connection with others through my own willingness to share. May I have the wisdom and strength to protect what should not be shared, for the emotional good of myself and others. May I know the balance between vulnerability and strong boundaries, knowing the right time and place for each.
May all people find this balance. May our community and our world be a place where everyone feels safe, where everyone chooses when to let others into their trust. May our community and our world be a place where everyone respects boundaries out of love and kindness. May the experience of safety, and of love freely given and freely received, bless the whole world with no exceptions.
May it be so.
Yours in faith and service,
Andrew (Drew) Frantz