October 4, 2022
I love fall. The crispness. The colors. The sweaters. The apples and cider. And, of course, the pumpkins.
But oh how hard it is to shut the door. I know it is necessary to close the door, as the weather gets colder, but I miss the light pouring in through the storm door.
May the door of this home be wide enough to receive all who hunger for love, all who are lonely for friendship. May it welcome all who have cares to unburden, thanks to express, hopes to nurture. May the door of this house be narrow enough to shut out pettiness and pride, envy and enmity... May this home be for all who enter the doorway to richness and a more meaningful life. "The Siddur of Shir Chadish in Life Prayers from Around the World edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon
Doors in our Lives
Many years ago I asked the women in a retreat I facilitated to draw a picture of a door and its threshold. An outside door or an inside door. A real door or an imagined door. The door could be from their present life or one from the past. I asked them to draw the image of what came into their minds when they heard the word “door,” and to draw a door with as much detail as possible, but assured them this exercise was not about being an artist.
The group moved into silence and using the offered crayons and markers drew their doors. Here are some of the questions we discussed after drawing our doors.
- Is this a door that welcomes or does it feel unwelcoming?
- Who enters this door? Is there anyone who is not welcome at this door?
- What do you notice about this door that you have not noticed before?
- How do you know when someone is at the door?
- What is on the other side of the door?
- What does this door reveal about you?
- What needs to be healed as you enter the door?
What a rich discussion we had as we shared the drawings of our doors. Some sweet memories. Some painful ones. Some surprises and new insights, and even a few intentions to make their doors more welcoming and inviting.
The Door as a Symbol of My Heart
What is it, I wondered, that we were really talking about when we reflected on the doors of our lives? What happens if we substitute the word “heart” for “door.”
- Is my heart a welcoming one or does it feel unwelcoming?
- Who enters my heart? Is there anyone who is not welcome in my heart?
- What do I notice about my heart that I did not know before?
- How do I know when someone is waiting outside my heart?
- What is outside my heart?
- What does my heart reveal about me?
- What needs to be healed in order to live with a full heart?
What would a picture of your heart look like? Are there any improvements you would like to make in the doorway of your heart?
The Door as a Spiritual Practice
Every time you open or close your door can be a moment of prayer, of blessing your home and all those who cross that threshold. As you stand at your door, pause, give thanks, and imagine God in your doorway. Every time you open or close your door, put your hand on your heart and feel it beating love and openness and welcome. Your door can remind you to invite God, the Sacred the Holy into your life.
Nightfall...morning I lock the door. I unlock it. My days are punctuated with this act. It is a rhythm, a kind of pulse. Just now the door is locked. I want to think of this not as shutting the world out or shutting me in. I want to think of this more like dwelling in a rhythm... sweet measure. Soon it will be morning and the door will be unlocked again. I can dwell in this home as if it were a heart. When I feel that pulse I know that all that comes to me will also go. Living in this stream I understand You are my lifeblood. Let me feel You course through me, through this door, throughout my life. "Locking the Door" by Gunilla Norris in Being Home, A Book of Meditations
What do you notice about a door you open and close everyday? I would love to know.
8 thoughts on “Closing the Door”
What a lovely retreat design! I’m copying this post and inserting it into a notebook I keep for retreatants who come to our retreat space.
I’m honored. Thanks.
This reflection and invitation are pwerful. Thank you for sharing. I will spend some time working with this image.
I’m so glad this resonates with you.
Our front door is at the very end of one hall and then another hall in a large new apartment building – I ask myself in this moment of my life, what does this door symbolize?
And then I smile as I realize how often each day, I push the buttons that open one of three elevator doors. The anticipation of which door will open first; will there be someone else coming or going, someone I know or someone new; will our eyes meet in acknowledgment of our personhood; will words offer greetings for the day or send restful thoughts into the night. These are my neighbors, my community for the moments of this moment of my life.
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You are present –to each of these possibilities–and therefore, are a presence.
Beautiful mediation and lots to think about. Thank you. I think I will ponder these questions in my journal.
Thanks for taking the time to both read the post and then to use it as your own threshold into reflection.