There were several exercises in the deacon discernment program that I went through that were useful. One is to imagine that you are facing a doorway. Do you go through it? What do you feel like once you have gone through? What is on the other side?
Stop and ponder this for a moment. Feel how this feels. What is your answer?
My answer was to imagine not that I was walking through a doorway, but that the doorway was coming towards me. It wasn’t a conscious action on my part. I was there, simply acknowledging that the transition was coming. When I was through it was as if I was bathed in light. It was warm and soothing and welcoming. It was a “finally I’m here” moment.
There are moments in our lives that when they finally happen you are relieved that you are there. You’ve waited a long time. You’ve arrived.
Doorways are simply transitions. They mark a difference between here and there. They don’t have to be physical to be doorways. There is a doorway between being a child and being an adult. There is a doorway you cross when you graduate college, or when you get married, or when your parents die.
I’ve always loved the Japanese idea of the torii gate. They aren’t doorways so much as markers. You can walk around them and still get to the other side. There is no door. It is three pieces of wood – two up, and one across. Anybody can walk through. But the torii gate indicates that something different is past this line. Often you are being informed that this is holy ground.
The Celts would say it is one of the thin places, where the worlds brush up against each other. You could call it Heaven and Earth, but in most cases with the Celts it is the idea of here and the otherworld, the world of the fae.
When you get to the thin places, the rules change. You change.
There is always a risk going through doorways. Who will you meet on the other side? Will you know what to do? Do you have the right equipment or training? You are in foreign territory.
Remember what it was like to finally graduate college or to get married? You were different. The rules changed. Everything that you had done up to that point lead you to that point, but now you were wondering if you could go backwards, go home, quit. Things are scary on the other sides of doorways.
Some doorways you can go back through. Some you can’t. When your parents die, you know you can never go home again. You can’t ask for a loan when you get short on cash. You can’t move back in with them when you get a divorce or a pink slip. You have to either look for other people to help you or you have to take care of yourself.
What if your image of a doorway in the exercise had included one with a lock, and you didn’t have the key? What if your image had included no lock, but a knocker, and nobody answered your knock? Both images imply that you need someone else to open that door.
Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven lies within us. The doorway is inside. It is within you. There is only you, and it. Ask and it shall be given unto you. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.