Doors

I’m on my fourth day of deep cleaning, working my way around the kitchen and into the side entry hall. All my baking supplies have been taken out and sorted, the cupboard cleaned inside and out, and goods replaced. After I shut the cupboard doors, only the faint scent of peppermint soap and vinegar gives any indication of the changes within. It’s only when I open the doors that the impact of my work can be seen.

It only takes a quick glance to appreciate the cleaning efforts in my side entry hall. Scuff marks are gone from baseboards, fingerprints and dirt removed from light switches. The magnets holding keys, bags, sunglasses, and mail are bright and shiny, as is the metal board that holds them to the wall. These are the things that anyone coming into the house might see. But it’s what most of us don’t notice that captured my attention today: doors.

There are three in my entry hall: separating the outdoors from the inside, leading to the cellar, and a usually hidden recessed door marking the entry to the kitchen. The two I can see mark and maintain the transitions from one space to another, keeping cold winds and rain from coming in and people from taking a tumble down the basement stairs. The one that’s usually hidden in the wall can keep my two cats away from people allergic or afraid of them, and provides an extra barrier to the cold if a snowstorm knocks out the power. The ability to connect and separate, to protect and invite, standing silently within arm’s reach – this belongs to these rectangular creations of wood and glass.

Hiding and revealing, connecting and separating, opening and closing. Keeping watch over the space that goes from one place to another. Marking transition from one reality to another: it’s often said that silence, prayer practices, and worship are doors to the great mystery of God. Through them the Spirit draws me into a love far deeper than I can see or imagine. Perhaps I should pay attention to these doors as well. Who knows where I might find myself when one opens and I walk on through.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Doors”

  1. Thank you Johnna for sharing this. Besides giving me inspiration to clean out closets and cabinets as I don’t have too many doors to go through in my home I am challenged to look outward as I look at the world around me each day with my five senses and through the lens of my camera but also inward as I pray for the courage to make changes and make space to place in my life new steps of change.

    1. Thanks, Donna. I think photography is one of the best ways to see what’s all around…and what most people miss. Peace, Johnna

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