Have you ever opened a door or come to a passageway and felt you were at the threshold of something exciting, mysterious, promising, or foreboding?
Doors and passageways from ancient times to modern day are conduits in our lives. They can swing open or simply beckon us to a particular space. Conversely, they can remain closed, locked, or barricaded. Towering or miniscule, embellished or barren, arched or perpendicular, transparent or solid, organic or inorganic, of human rendering or of nature’s design . . . doors and passageways are a means of travel. We can walk through them with intention, stumble in/out accidentally, get nudged or pushed along, or turn and run!
In literature, doors and passageways are often metaphorical and take us to different worlds fairly easily. We are swept away in the magic of pretend or inspired by the historical reenactment of different time periods. Stories, oral and written, captivate us as we enter the myriad doors to creative thought, learning, and imagination.
I think of C.S. Lewis’ book “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” when, during World War II to escape the air raids, the girl Lucy and her siblings are sent to an old professor’s house in the country. She stumbles out of a wardrobe stuffed with thick fur coats and into the dense forest of Narnia. Lewis’ wardrobe serves as the passageway to several fascinating adventures experienced by the Pevensie children.
Or, how about Diana Galbadon’s book “Outlander” when Claire Randall places her hand into the cleft of an ancient standing stone in a circle of standing stones on the British Isles. Through that parted monolith, Claire leaves current day 1945 and is passaged back to Scotland in the year 1743. The stone renders itself to Claire as a type of doorway or passageway to a plenitude of old world Scottish adventures.
I wonder about all the doors and passageways experienced in a lifetime. One can get downright reflective while reminiscing! Here are a few doors I remember exploring on a path through the Maroon Bells Wilderness, a lighthouse in Oregon, and a preserve in Aspen, Colorado.
One time while hiking Rocky Mountain National Park, I saw an unusual pine tree towering high on a granite cliff far above the hiking trail. My eyes paused on the unusual texture of the bark and it wasn’t long before I realized it was a hollow tree with what looked like an arched front door in its trunk. Inside the curved chamber of that hollow tree trunk was what looked like a back door exiting the other side. To me this was a storybook tree indeed, with doors full of potential tales of adventure! And oh, what wonder Nature continually inspires.
I’ve often told my children when they were unsure about making an important decision or choice in their lives, to pray for guidance and then to walk through the open door(s) in front of them. Keep walking, I said, until the door closes. You will know which path(s) to take.
A door in Revelation 3:8 offers encouragement: “…See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut!”
Sometimes what is behind a door comes as a complete surprise!
This past week I walked through the very clinical doors of a doctor’s office. Not expecting anything exceedingly wonderful to happen once I crossed the threshold and took a seat in the waiting area, something wonderful did happen . . .
In walked a group of five people: 2 adult caregivers and 3 special needs adults. Together they found chairs to sit in. Across from me the two caregivers sat on either side of a woman whose face was severely and congenitally disfigured. Beside me sat the other two adults who looked around anxiously and waited patiently. The caregivers across from me conversed with each other about patients and schedules. Their words and conversation made me think they were devoted and loving people who shepherded this small group through the day’s events. I was moved. But what stirred me even more was a simple gesture of affection.
The woman with the disfigured face looked up. In the most gentle of gestures and with a barely audible murmur, she reached over to one of the caregivers beside her and rested her hand lightly on the other woman’s arm. Full of compassion, her brown eyes sparkling out of the incongruous bones of her asymmetrical face, she looked at the caregiver beside her and blew the tiniest of kisses into the air. The caregiver nodded, leaned over, and kissed the woman’s forehead. It was the simplest of exchanges and it was beautiful. I was struck by the compassion and peace emanating from both women but especially by the woman whose deformed facial structure became seemingly unnoticeable as she radiated sheer beauty and depth.
We never know about all those doors and passageways in life. I’m so glad I walked through the doors of that doctor’s office that day. I found myself sitting with a group of individuals who exuded so much caring and love and dignity my heart was full. The world was bright.
Wishing you something beautiful from the doors and passageways on your journey.