The Importance of Closing the Gate on the Farm and in Life

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In the three years I have been writing professionally, I have often been asked how I came to name my musings “Close the Gate.” My only explanation is that in my near forty-eight years I have come to learn that closing the gate is a way of life.

I came from the city to the farm, am self employed, independent to a fault, and I can find humor in the oddest of situations. As a wife to one (who would want two?), mother of three, grandmother of three and a friend of many, my discoveries have led me to many different meanings to this very simple phrase: Close the gate.

I run a small daycare where closing the gate on the basement stairs and across the driveway to the backyard is an important matter of safety. It is a coveted privilege and honor reserved for “big kids” on rare occasion to go beyond the gate and into the front.

When moving livestock on a farm, even a small hobby farm such as ours, gate closing is not esteemed or fun and sometimes involves a whole lot of waiting and absolutely no excitement. But it is vitally important work. Ask any farmer who has ever had the pasture gate left open by careless hunters and they will tell you at great length and with much arm waving and gestures of its importance.

But figuratively speaking, closing the gate is about tying up loose ends. It is about putting the past behind you. It is about making amends to repair or restore a damaged relationship. It is about making apologies when they are due. It is about owning up and going beyond. It is about integrity. It is about forgiving and forgetting.

“Closing the gate” is a way of life that I have tried to embrace and practice on a daily basis. I try every day to do it as a Christian, with humor and grace, but it is difficult.

More than six years ago I took a bad fall and suffered some serious injuries. The accident may or may not have ever happened if I had taken the extra ten seconds necessary to literally shut the yard gate on our acreage.

A lot has changed since that fall. The fence and gate were eventually removed but the lesson remains as an example of life. We need to prepare for the unexpected and use the tools that the good Lord has given us to move beyond the past and put things in the rear view mirror once and for all.

How many open gates are there in your life? Unfinished business? Broken promises? Apologies to be made? Walls to be torn down? Fences that need mending?

Finish, forgive, love, laugh, live and to thine own self be true.

Forget the past, walk toward the light and close the gate behind you.