PS posted a gorgeous photograph of a door and asked some questions I need to answer; I'm at a crossroads (hey, I do love the thrill of the chase, but...), seeking to find some alternative doors or maybe needing to open my eyes lots wider so I can see the doors way out there and even close to here. I've included a plain and a posterized version of one of my favorite pics I've ever taken: I love the way the gate allows you to enter and leave the garden and that you can see both out and in before you take another step in either direction. When I noticed the houses across the street were a little out of focus and asked if that was what I wanted I decided, yes, that's fine. I'm mainly answering PS's questions as part of my spiritual practice, so I want to be detailed without being agonizingly so to the extent it's over-edited and obscure. PS's questions are in purple, my answers in plum.
Do we open doors?
I keep telling myself this next thing will work, this next thing will work--go for it! Put yourself out there! A few doors I've enthusiastically opened expecting something to be there have worked for a while, but then haven't; an astonishing number have yielded nothing whatsoever. On the other hand, I've opened my doors and invited countless people to share time, meals, conversation and my home, and unlike in the distant past, most times they've refused, so I'm trying to admit insanity in expecting different results from the same behaviors.
Do we close doors?
For me, the answer is "not often enough," since I've had a forever habit of being very persistent about everything and everyone even when words and actions clearly have told me the situation or relationship is over and will yield no more for any party.
Are door boundaries or invitations?
Sometimes doors are not only boundaries between here and there, but barriers to places some of us never will be truly welcome or fully included in the inner circle (but aren't we supposed to live on the margins, or even the very edge?); others both represent and become thin places we need to step through in trust with our hearts, minds, spirits and bodies, eventually to find ourselves completely embraced in a broad place on the other side.
Do doors embrace or exclude?
In the first apt. bldg. I lived in as a young undergrad in the North End of Boston, during the non-cold months everyone left their doors open when they were at home--not that you'd necessarily be visiting each other a lot, but I loved the way this announced your life was open to the community. I'll also reference my answer to the previous question and say doors can be exclusive barriers.
Do doors open the future or close the past?
About those futures, I'm thinking especially of doors that open for an interview for school or university, with Committees on Ministry or Search Committees for church or any kind of employment. Every one of these doors functionally can close off a past-time and open a future, but if the answer is "no" or "not yet," the same doors can leave us in the past or prompt our own search for new portals of entry. In these cases, doors form permanent markers between eras in our lives. I live in a city with the busiest international land border in the world; daily border crossings between places of employment and schools are routine, with the cultural borders between this First World Nation and that Third-World Country surprisingly porous, yet there still are thousands of illegal crossings every year, so people who manage to arrive and make a new life in alta california don't dare return to baja california, so they're stuck in a situation of near-permanent neither completely here nor fully there. I probably wrote that because of my own current psychological mindset..."Days of Future Passed"
Do we hesitate at doors?
From my recent experience, just lately maybe too much so. I've barged in so many times and despite imagining something may be behind that door for me soon, it hasn't been, so these days I hesitate.
Are our doors full of memories?
Probably, but this one's not huge for me.
Do we offer doors to people?
Yes, yes, and yes again! But then sometimes I tell them, "Don't come too close..."
Are some doors more important than other doors?
Despite my lifelong propensity for fence-riding (thinks of the Eagles' "Desperado"), there are times we need to make grave choices (who we'll marry or not, whether or not to become pregnant or continue PG) and as a result, doors necessarily slam shut forever behind us. We can try wistfully or gratefully looking back, but the deed has been done.
Do our doors open us to the Holy One?
Metaphorical doors, psychological doors and physically touchable entrances at least give us glimpses of the Divine, and despite the Bible's and Jesus' demonstrating the Wholly Other frequently encountered in the stranger, in suffering and in the cross, I'll boldly cite entryways to the grandeur and solemnity of churches, cathedrals and monasteries that open us wide to Sacred Presence and Possibilities.
Are our doors protective?
Both necessary protection and essential, maybe permeable borders of where and who we are in this place and at this time. Some of the RevGals have been blogging about boundaries, and that precious commodity (think exchange value, buying, selling, weighing and measuring) of time seems to be the most frequently violated boundary, but we humans often find it exceedingly difficult to know when God is calling us to give up that chunk of time we've reserved for something truly important to us and to society because right now, someone else truly needs us and "our" time.
Are our doors excuses?
On occasion they're excuses that hold nothing whatsoever, but often they're real reasons.