Friday, February 7, 2014

Line In The Sand

A Line of Demarcation is a boundary separating one thing from another.  Sometimes the line separates two countries, such as the Blue Line separating Lebanon from Israel, or the Radcliffe Line separating India and Pakistan, or our very own Mason-Dixon Line. 

We have fence lines separating one ranch from another, or one yard from another.  Sometimes the fence is somewhat imaginary such as a hedge row or tree line.  Sometimes the line isn’t so imaginary such as a river or an ocean. 

The thing about a line is that it separates.  Countries.  States.  Time Zones. 


In our own country, in our own recent past, we sometimes had two lines: one for whites and one for anyone else of color.  Separate water fountains.  Restrooms.  Parts of town.  Even social events.

Sometimes we give each other or earn a title that separates us from one another such as Commander In Chief, or Senator, or Board of Supervisor, or Principal. 

Arbitrary or not, lines separate us from one another and can and often do create divisions and sometimes divisiveness.

And if a line separates, imaginary or otherwise, what happens if the line is crossed?

To me, a Line In The Sand is a dare.  It’s saying to someone, “See what happens when you cross this!”  And it seems like it’s human nature to want to cross that line just to see what happens.

I think we draw a Line In The Sand to each other.  Between one adult and another adult.  Many times, adults do this to kids.  “One more time and I’ll tell your father!”  “Do I need to contact your parents?” “You do this one more time and I’ll . . .” 

Effective, huh?  Hmmm, not so much.

When we draw a Line In The Sand, we back each other, sometimes kids, into a corner so that there is nowhere to go.  Sometimes we even back ourselves into a corner and leave ourselves no choice but to cross our own imaginary line.

Mostly, I feel it is uncomfortable to have a Line In The Sand drawn for us, real or imaginary, our own doing or someone else’s doing.  It’s a dare and somehow, someway, that line says, “I’m better than you!”  “I’m tougher than you!”  It is an assertion, real or imaginary, rightly or wrongly, of one’s power over another individual.  Drawing a Line separates.  It can, and often does, hurt.  Instead of unifying, it creates division.  Instead of joining, it creates divisiveness.

Perhaps we should separate less and join more.  Perhaps instead of keeping others away, we need to include and become more inclusive.  Humans, after all, seek others to be with them for comfort, for guidance, for support.  Lines don’t join people together.  Dares don’t support or encourage.  Lines and dares are destructive, not constructive.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe