When you Long for a Margin on your Life’s Paper


I don’t go that way anymore. It scares me. It really scares me.

There are daily reports of horrid accidents. Mile long automobile back-ups due to tragic accidents. The fire truck pulled in that day to block the accident, and an elderly couple almost slammed into the fire truck. I saw it. Daily.

As I approach the walls, my chest tightens. My stomach tightens. My breath feels caught right up in the middle. It’s probably one of my worst fears.

I had to go this way today.

As I enter, I tell myself, breathe. I tell myself, it’s all for a good cause. I tell myself, you are going to get through this. The clearing is just up ahead.


I try not to focus on the wall.

Go slow and steady.

18-wheelers fly by me, in that tight space.

My arms tremble.

No one says a word.

When this road construction is finished, we’ll have a new Walmart nearby and better highway access. All these walls will come down. Freedom. Life.

“Why do you hate the walls, Shelli?” I ask myself.

Well, O Soul, the walls are fixed. They don’t budge or bend. They’re too close. They trap me in. I feel squashed. I feel crammed. I feel fragile. I’m afraid I’ll hit them. I’m afraid another will hit me.

I want space. I want space for error. I want a margin. A margin with no holes. I don’t want to be hurt. I don’t want to be the next one hurt. I don’t want to feel pain. I don’t want to die today.

O Soul, that sounds an awful lot like life. Wouldn’t you agree?

We want a margin on our life’s paper. One without holes.

But another friend has cancer. One is going through chemo. One just had a brain tumor removed and fears the fragments remaining will destroy her. One’s son died in an auto accident on the way to Disney World. One hurts every time he eats. One’s back pain is unbearable. One lives with daily unbearable dying pain and wonders when his last day will be.

And the path we take is often not our choice. We have to go that way … today. The walls are fixed. And as we approach, our chests tighten, our stomachs tighten, our arms tremble, our breath catches.

We maintain our focus. We go slow and steady.

We cling to our Jesus marginthe beautiful spacious One with holes and only One to make us whole.


We are going to get through this.

The clearing is just up ahead.

Real freedom. Real life.



What frightens you? How do you press through the fear? Do you have a favorite Scripture of encouragement?

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